Caution for Office Workers: The More You Sit, The Higher Your Risk of Chronic Diseases

Long Sitting Can Increase 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.

Why should we be aware?

Compared with those participants 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 high blood pressure. 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.

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 sitting time: categorized as less than four hours, four to six hours, six to eight hours, or more than eight hours.

“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 office workers sitting at desks and those sitting for long periods of time such as truck drivers, he said.

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.

 

It is also important to undestand that going to GYM or doing any other kind of activity might be not enough. “It’s not just that people aren’t getting enough physical activity, but it’s that they’re also sitting too much,” the researcher said.

 

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.

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