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Extended Sitting Does NOT Increase the Risk of Diabetes, Study Suggests

Feb 08, 2017 11:54 AM EST

Contrary to popular belief, a new study revealed that sitting for an extended period of time does not increase the risk of diabetes.

The study, publish in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, found no association between sitting behaviors of an individual and his/her likelihood of developing diabetes.

"Sitting has attracted a lot of publicity in recent years for being as dangerous as smoking and for being harmful regardless of how physically active people are," said lead author Associate Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis from the Charles Perkins Centre and School of Public Health, in a press release. However, this is one of the very few long-term studies to investigate whether there is a link between sitting behaviors and risk of development of diabetes."

For the study, the researchers analyzed the responses of 4811 middle-aged and older London-based workers who completed a long-term health study initially conducted in 1998. The participants were initially free of diabetes and major cardiovascular diseases. The researchers asked the participants to report the amount of time they spent on various sitting behaviors, including at work and commuting, leisure time and watching television.

The researchers also examined clinical data based on the glucose level of the participants. Additionally, the researchers also adjusted that other confounding factors such as physical activity, employment grade, smoking habits, quality of diet, baseline body mass index (BMI) and general health status.

Over the 13-year follow-up period, the researchers recorded a total of 402 cases of diabetes. However, there is little evidence for associations between sitting and diabetes, with the weak associations limited to TV sitting time.

Stamatakis believes that the results of their study was influenced by the amount of physical activity the participants take every day. The London-based workers who participated the study reported walking nearly 45 minutes per day on average. The researchers noted that such activity is necessary to maintain good health, especially for white collar workers that spend many hours each day sitting in front of the computer.

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