Researchers find reducing sedentary time especially for those with risk factors of diabetes mellitus
Past studies have linked sitting for long periods of time with numerous negative health outcomes. Just last year researchers from the University of Leicester had revealed women who spend extended periods of time everyday are more likely to develop diabetes. Now, the University of Leicester has found in a new study for those who are at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes would significantly benefit in reducing their risk from getting up and moving around instead of just exercising. According to researchers just ninety minutes less a day in the sitting position could result in vital health benefits.
Currently for those who are at risk for diabetes the American Diabetes Association recommends a minimum of 150 minutes each week of moderate-intensity physical activity (50 – 70% of maximum heart rate) or at least 90 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic exercise (more than 70% of maximum heart rate.
Now a new study suggests that those who are at high risk should be advised to reduce their sedentary time (time spent moving very little or not at all, for example sitting or lying down), led by Joseph Henson and colleagues from the Diabetes Research Unit, University of Leicester and National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Leicester Loughborough Diet, Lifestyle and Physical Activity Biomedical Research Unit (BRU), UK., and colleagues.
Over the last decade, sedentary behavior has emerged as a distinctive behavioral standard with detrimental effects on chronic disease risk, independent of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity, according to the researchers.
Traditionally, epidemiological evidence examining the effect of sedentary time on health has tended to focus on
Self-report measures, but these are prone to bias and have poor levels of validity, according to the study’s abstract.
For this study researchers used combined baseline data from two prevention studies, the Walking Away from Diabetes study (average age 64 and 65% men) and Project Stand (Sedentary Time and Diabetes study, average age 33 and 29% men. Individuals were unaware of their diabetes risk status before entering the two studies, and all participants were excluded if they had known type 2 diabetes mellitus or were taking steroids.
The research team examined the extent to which sedentary time; breaks in sedentary time, MVPA and total physical activity were independently associated with cardiometabolic risk factors in a population with known risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Accelerometers were used to assess sedentary time, MVPA, and total physical activity. Breaks in sedentary time were defined as a transition from a sedentary to an active state.
The researchers found for those patients with known risk factors for type 2 diabetes, sedentary time was unfavorably linked with 2 h glucose, triacylglycerol and HDL-cholesterol, independent of measured confounders. These results remained significant after further adjustment for MVPA and adiposity.
These results remained across groups with diverse age ranges, providing evidence that the negative consequences of excess sedentary time exist across young to old adults.
However, sedentary time was shown to have stronger associations with several important cardio metabolic markers (2 h glucose, triacylglycerol and HDL-cholesterol) compared with total physical activity and MVPA, after adjustment for each other and other important confounders.
The researchers write “In conclusion, the findings from this study may have important methodological and public health implications. This study provides novel objective evidence that, in individuals high risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus, sedentary time may be a more important indicator of cardio metabolic health than MVPA. This may raise questions regarding the prescription of optimal daily human movement for health. As such, diabetes and cardiovascular prevention programs concentrate in solely on MVPA may overlook an area that is of fundamental importance to cardio metabolic health.
The researchers note that along with the recommendation of 150 minutes a week of moderate to vigorous physical activity those interventions may be more effective if patients are further encouraged to simply sit less more and more, regardless of the intensity level of physical activity.
“This approach requires a paradigm shift, so that individuals at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes think about the balance of sedentary behavior and physical activity throughout the day,” stated Henson.
This study is published in Diabetologia (The journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes).