(HealthDay)—People who spend a lot of time sitting are at increased risk for kidney disease, according to a new study.
Researchers categorized more than 5,600 people, aged 40 to 75, according to the amount of time they spent sitting each day and also how much moderate to vigorous exercise they did.
Women who sat less than three hours a day were more than 30 percent less likely to develop chronic kidney disease than those who sat more than eight hours a day. Men who sat less than three hours a day were about 15 percent less likely to develop chronic kidney disease than those who sat more than eight hours a day.
The study also found that men who sat a lot but got regular physical activity, such as 30 minutes of walking a day, were 30 percent less likely to develop chronic kidney disease than those who sat a lot and were inactive. Physical activity did not reduce the risk of the condition in women who sat a lot.
The study was published in the October issue of the American Journal of Kidney Diseases.
"It is currently not known how sedentary time or physical activity directly impact kidney health, but less sitting and more physical activity is associated with increased cardiovascular health through improvements to blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose metabolism and arterial health," lead researcher Dr. Thomas Yates, of the University of Leicester, in England, said in a journal news release.
"While this study confirms the growing body of literature that supports a link between lifestyle factors and the development of chronic kidney disease, it also adds to the evidence that simply sitting less may have important health benefits," he added.
The findings also suggest that "in terms of kidney function, traditional moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity, such as brisk walking, jogging or running on the treadmill, may be more important for men, whereas reducing prolonged periods of sitting time may be more important for women," Yates said.
Although the study found an association between long periods of sitting and an increased risk of kidney disease, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.
Explore further: Diabetes risk from sitting around
The U.K.'s National Health Service explains how to prevent kidney disease.