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A new study published by the University College, London has revealed that sitting down or remaining inactive for long periods of time leads to a larger risk of becoming obese and developing diabetes. Sitting down too much during your free time increases your risk of type 2 diabetes, even if you might work out regularly.
This means that the best way to cut out the risk of developing diabetes is to spend less time sitting down, and more time standing up or exercising.
The research team at UCL looked at the effects of being inactive during the hours spent away from people’s desks at work – time that many participants in the study spent sleeping, watching TV, sitting down and eating, or sitting down and working. The study, which was carried out on over 4,000 civil servants over a five- and ten- year period meant that the results are significant.
After five years, those who had spent less than 12 hours a week sitting and more than four hours a week exercising had 75% less chance of becoming obese and developing diabetes than those who sat for more than 25 hours a week and did less than 90 minutes physical activity.
These results show that sitting less reinforces the benefits of exercising, as figures show that the average adult spends 90% of their leisure time sitting down and it has been statistically proven that those who sit down for longer have higher chances of being overweight or even obese.
The UCL study, which was published in the medical journal Diabetologica, found that sitting less and being moderately active reduced the development of metabolic risk factors – things such as high cholesterol levels and insulin resistance which later leads to diabetes.
The findings of the study seem to confirm the importance of physical activity on a daily basis and the risk of too many inactive periods in our leisure time.
One of the study’s leaders, Dr Joshua Bell said: “The effectiveness of physical activity for preventing obesity may depend on how much you sit in your leisure time. Both high levels of physical activity and low levels of leisure time sitting may be required to substantially reduce the risk of becoming obese.”
The publishing of the results of the UCL study also comes just as evidence is growing that too much sitting down specifically (not just inactivity) may be a significant risk factor for premature death and illnesses such a cancer and heart disease.