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15-10-2012 | Cardiology | Article

Sitting on a cardiac timebomb


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medwireNews: People who sit for long periods of time have an increased risk for diabetes, heart disease, and mortality, even if they undertake the recommended amount of exercise each day, say researchers.

According to a meta-analysis by Emma Wilmot (University of Leicester, UK) and team, individuals who reported sitting for the longest time during the day (>6 hours) had a 2.12-fold higher risk for diabetes, 2.47-fold higher risk for cardiovascular disease, and 1.90-fold higher risk for cardiovascular mortality than those who sat for the shortest time (<1 hour). Long-duration sitters also had a 1.5-fold increased risk for all-cause mortality.

"Our study showed that the most consistent associations were between sitting and diabetes," remarked Wilmot in a press statement. "This is an important message because people with risk factors for diabetes, such as the obese, those of South Asian ethnic origin, or those with a family history of diabetes, may be able to help reduce their future risk of diabetes by limiting the time spent sitting."

The association between sedentary time and cardiovascular risk remained significant even after adjusting for levels of physical activity.

"The average adult spends 50-70% of their time sitting so the findings of this study have far reaching implications," Wilmot said. "By simply limiting the time that we spend sitting, we may be able to reduce our risk of diabetes, heart disease and death."

Co-author Stuart Biddle (Loughborough University, UK) advised: "There are many ways we can reduce our sitting time, such as breaking up long periods at the computer at work by placing our laptop on a filing cabinet.

"We can have standing meetings, we can walk during the lunch break, and we can look to reduce TV viewing in the evenings by seeking out less sedentary behaviours."

medwireNews ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2012

By Piriya Mahendra, medwireNews Reporter

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