June 23, 2017
With evidence mounting that suggests that the more a person sits, the greater his/her risk of chronic diseases, two studies reaffirm the merits of moving about. Emma S George, University of Western Sydney (Australia), and colleagues, reported on their analysis of data from subjects enrolled in Australia’s 45 and Up Study, involving more than 267,000 people and for which a subset of 63,048 men, ages 45 t0 65 years, was selected. The team found that, 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 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 authors conclude that: “Our findings suggest that higher volumes of sitting time are significantly associated with diabetes and overall chronic disease, independent of physical activity.” Separate findings from Joseph Henson, from the University of Leicester (United Kingdom), and colleagues report that simply rising from the chair and moving a little may help ward off type 2 diabetes among individuals at risk even more than engaging in strenuous physical activity. The team found that time spent sedentary significantly correlated to negative metabolic factors including 2-hour glucose level, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, and triglycerides, writing that: “In adults at high risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus, time spent sedentary is strongly and adversely associated with cardiometabolic health and may be a more important indicator of poor health than [moderate-to-vigorous physical activity].”
I like to recommend to patients that for every hour you sit during the day that you move 3 minutes. So if you sit for an 8 hour workday then move (walk, swim, hike, bike,etc.) for 24 minutes — or more! Another helpful suggestion is to use a standup desk so instead of sitting you stand up to do your work. The more you move — the better your health.
Don Fisher D.O.
Medical Director/ Physician
The BEST Program, Inc.