Sitting time associated with increased risk of chronic diseases

February 19, 2013 by Trevor Davis, Kansas State University
Those who sat for more than four hours per day were significantly more likely to report having a chronic disease such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. Credit: Walala Pancho via photopincc

The more you sit, the higher your risk of chronic diseases. Kansas State University researcher Richard Rosenkranz, assistant professor of human nutrition, examined the associations of sitting time and chronic diseases in middle-aged Australian males in a study that is published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. Collaborators include University of Western Sydney researchers Emma George and Gregory Kolt.

The study's sample included 63,048 males ages 45-65 from the Australian state of New South Wales. Study participants reported the presence or absence of various chronic diseases, along with their daily : categorized as less than four hours, four to six hours, six to eight hours, or more than eight hours.

Compared with those who reported sitting four hours or less per day, those who sat for more than four hours per day were significantly more likely to report having a chronic disease such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and . The reporting of chronic diseases rose as participants indicated they sat more. Those sitting for at least six hours were significantly more likely to report having diabetes.

"We saw a steady stair-step increase in risk of chronic diseases the more participants sat," Rosenkranz said. "The group sitting more than eight hours clearly had the highest risk."

The study is relevant to sitting at desks and those sitting for long periods of time such as truck drivers, he said.

"We know that with very high confidence that more physically active people do better with regard to chronic disease compared with less physically active people, but we should also be looking at reducing sitting," Rosenkranz said. "A lot of office jobs that require long periods of sitting may be hazardous to your health because of inactivity and the low levels of energy expenditure."

Researchers discovered consistent findings in those who had a similar physical activity level, age, income, education, weight and height. Participants who sat more reported more chronic diseases—even if they had a similar body mass index compared with those who sat less.

In general, people should get more physical activity and sit less, Rosenkranz said.

"It's not just that people aren't getting enough physical activity, but it's that they're also sitting too much," he said. "And on top of that, the more you sit, the less time you have for physical activity."

The study focused on males, because they have higher rates of diabetes and heart disease, but it is probably applicable in adults across gender, race and ethnicity, Rosenkranz said. Little is known about children and sitting with regard to chronic disease.

The research is part of the 45 and Up Study, the largest long-term study of aging in Australia, involving more than 267,000 people.

Researchers said that although most of the current evidence is suggestive of a causal connection, they cannot be certain in this study whether volumes of sitting time led to the development of chronic diseases or whether the influenced time.

"It's a classic case of, 'Which came first: the chicken or the egg?'" Rosenkranz said.

Explore further: Sitting for hours daily might boost your kidney disease risk: study

More information: www.ijbnpa.org/content/10/1/20

Related Stories

Sitting for hours daily might boost your kidney disease risk: study

October 3, 2012
(HealthDay)—People who spend a lot of time sitting are at increased risk for kidney disease, according to a new study.

Stand up: Study provides new evidence on the harms of prolonged sitting

March 26, 2012
Standing up more often may reduce your chances of dying within three years, even if you are already physically active, a study of more than 200,000 people published in Archives of Internal Medicine today shows.

Even physically active women sit too much

October 31, 2012
Women who exercise regularly spend as much time sitting as women who don't, according to a new Northwestern Medicine study.

Single men spend weekends sitting, watching TV

March 14, 2012
Single, middle-aged people who live alone spend more time sitting.  A new study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine discovered that men tended to sit for longer periods watching TV on the weekends ...

Sitting for protracted periods increases risk of diabetes, heart disease and death

October 15, 2012
A new study led by the University of Leicester, in association with colleagues at Loughborough University, has discovered that sitting for long periods increases your risk of diabetes, heart disease and death.

Recommended for you

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

Sleep better, lose weight?

January 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sleeplessness could cost you when it's time to stand on your bathroom scale, a new British study suggests.

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

Teens likely to crave junk food after watching TV ads

January 15, 2018
Teenagers who watch more than three hours of commercial TV a day are more likely to eat hundreds of extra junk food snacks, according to a report by Cancer Research UK.

Can muesli help against arthritis?

January 15, 2018
It is well known that healthy eating increases a general sense of wellbeing. Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now discovered that a fibre-rich diet can have a positive influence ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Mrmajestic
1.3 / 5 (11) Feb 19, 2013
As we sit and read

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.