Researchers found that the more you sit, the higher the risk for diabetes, so it would be a good idea to get up and start moving around if you’ve been sitting down for too long.
- Around 2,500 people participated in the study, median age of 60 years old
- For 8 days, they were strapped with a device that monitored their activity
- 56% of the had normal blood sugar, 15% high blood sugar, and 29% had diabetes
- Diabetics spent 26 more minutes per day sitting
- For each extra hour of sitting above average, the risk for diabetes was increased by 22%
Researchers from the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands, led by Dr. Julianne Van Der Berg, conducted a study to determine the possible link between a sedentary lifestyle and type 2 diabetes. The study saw to 2,500 participants, all of which were strapped with an accelometer device strapped to their thigh. The purpose was to monitor their activity over the span of 8 days.
The participants’ ages averaged around 60 years old. Among them, 56% had normal blood sugar, 15% had high blood sugar, and 29% had type 2 diabetes. The team of researchers examined the data and observed that those with the condition spent an average of 26 minutes more sitting down. To start with, that meant that patients with diabetes had a more sedentary lifestyle. It pointed into one possible direction of their study.
After further analyzing their data, the scientists concluded that for each extra hour of sitting above average, the risk of diabetes increased by 22%. This was in spite of regularly exercising, although they admittedly did not include more intense sessions such as jogging or swimming. However, normal workout patterns that implies light exercising did not seem to help the results. If the patients spent a lot of time sitting, the risk of diabetes rose.
According to Dr. Van Der Berg, we know that physical activity is needed, but we now also know that sitting for too long is bad. The “more you sit, the higher the risk”, no matter how much you exercise to compensate. In spite of the association between diabetes and sitting though, researchers could not find an exact reason. Furthermore, their study highlighted a link, not a cause-and-effect relationship. So, perhaps it was not sitting that caused diabetes, but diabetics simply had the habit of a more sedentary lifestyle.
Regardless of which option it is, sitting did nothing but pose as a detriment to their health. Dr. Van Der Berg underlined that their study has a significant role in better understanding the effects of a sedentary lifestyle. It could aid further research in matters of treating and preventing type 2 diabetes, independent of physical activity. Perhaps there is more to it, and should be avidly avoided. Or, at the very least, reducing a sedentary behavior could reduce the risk.
Further consideration should be offered to ways of curbing that sort of habit for better prevention methods. However, further research is required in order to establish a firm connection between diabetes and a sedentary lifestyle. In the meantime, it couldn’t hurt to get up and stretch out your legs a little bit.
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