- Sitting for longer periods of time, especially for desk jobs, has a direct correlation with obesity.
- This relationship affects men more than women.
- One hour of exercise, like walking or cycling, can be is a good start to the eight hour long sitting session.
The more people sat during the day, the more likely they were to become obese. This was far more evident among men compared to women.
People tend to sit more if they have desk jobs. It is often difficult to motivate them to get up and move about at frequent intervals.
‘Incorporating exercise into the daily regimen, in addition to cutting down the amount of time one spends sitting, can lower the risk for diabetes, heart disease or stroke.’
But according to the findings published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people who sat for longer periods increased their likelihood of developing obesity.
It builds on a body of research that shows a relationship between sedentary lifestyles and increased risk for chronic conditions and premature death.
The researchers recruited 4,486 men and 1,845 women for the study.
They observed the amount of time the participants spent sitting during work, school and at home. The research team asked participants to report the frequency and duration of 11 types of physical activity, including walking, running and bicycling.
Then the obesity among participants, aged 20 to 79, were calculated by measuring the size of their waistlines and percentage of body fat.
Nearly half of the men reported sitting three-fourths of the day, while only 13% of women said the same.
The results showed that despite the metrics, the more men sat, the likelier they were to be obese. Women who sat for long periods of time had lower obesity levels compared to men.
"Men who sat more were more likely to be obese, and that held even when we adjusted for their fitness level," said Carolyn E. Barlow, who led the research team at the Cooper Institute in Dallas. "The other risk factors that we looked at cholesterol and glucose were also not associated with sitting time. That was a bit surprising."
Further research is necessary to pinpoint a root cause for the higher rates of obesity in sedentary men.
Limitation of the Study
- Self-reporting of activity level.
- Being primarily white participants, who were generally healthy and well educated
This made it difficult to apply the results to more diverse populations.
"We're limited to some degree with the population who comes in because they're all self-referred or corporate-referred patients," Barlow said. "We definitely want to look at the changes in sitting time and how that associates with different risk factors among patients who come back to the clinic."
Obesity refers to the accumulation of excess amount of body fat in the body. According to the CDC:
- More than 68.8% of adults in America are considered to be overweight or obese.
- More than 35.75 of adults are considered to be obese.
- Three in 4 men, around 74%, are considered to be overweight or obese.
- About 8% of women are considered to have extreme obesity.
- Overweight and obesity affect more than 78.8% Hispanics and 76.7% of blacks.
One study in the Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice
journal found a connection between prolonged sitting and Type 2 diabetes
, which occurs when the body fails to use or make enough insulin to convert blood sugar into energy.
Another study from the University Health Network in Toronto concluded that people who sit too much every day are not only at risk of diabetes, but also heart disease, cancer and shorter life spans, even if they work out.
People who exercise are at lower risk of developing the health conditions. Short, periodic bursts of activity in between long intervals of sitting can also help.
Ulf Ekelund, a professor at the Norwegian School of Sports Sciences, found one hour of exercise that includes anything from a stroll in the park to biking to work, can be a good start. Ekelund added that for every four hours of sitting, at least 30 minutes of exercise is needed.
- Overweight and Obesity Statistics - (https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-statistics/Pages/overweight-obesity-statistics.aspx)