Risk on Sitting Around

by Mark Benson on March 3, 2012

Sitting assists diabetes development

According to a new study, women that stay seated for extended periods each day have higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Surprisingly, this link could not be found with men.

The study was conducted by researchers from the Department of Health Sciences and Department of Cardiovascular Sciences of the University of Leicester. It found that women who are sedentary for a greater part of a day were at higher risk in developing the early metabolic signs of later presentation of Type 3 diabetes compared to people who sit less.

The team studied over 500 men and women aged forty years or more on how much time is spent seated during the course of a week.  The study observed the specific levels of chemicals found in their bloodstream linked to metabolic dysfunction and diabetes. The study found that women who spent most of their time seated had higher levels of insulin together with increased amounts of C-reactive protein and chemicals released by fat tissues in the abdomen such as leptin and interleukin6. These indicate that there is problematic inflammation in the body.

The study found that there is a link between time seated and diabetes risk was greater in women compared to men but there is no indication why there is a gender difference. One theory is that women may snack more often compared to men during this sedentary period while another would be men tend to do more robust activity when they do get up ad walk about.

According to Dr. Thomas Yates, who was the study head, “This study provides important new evidence that higher levels of sitting time have a deleterious impact on insulin resistance and chronic low-grade inflammation in women but not men and that this effect is seen regardless of how much exercise is undertaken. This suggests that women who meet the national recommendations of thirty minutes of exercise a day may still be compromising their health if they are seated for the rest of the day. It therefore suggests that enabling women to spend less time sitting may be an important factor in preventing chronic disease.”

The paper has been published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine and recommends for further experimental research to investigate the effect of reduced sitting time in human volunteers.

He further added, “If these results are replicated, they have implications for lifestyle recommendations, public health policy and health behavior change interventions as they suggest that enabling women to spend less time sitting is an important factor in preventing chronic disease.”


The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the DiabetesForum.com Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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