The risk of type 2 diabetes looms large for women who sit for up to seven hours a day, a new study has warned.
It found women who spend the most time sitting down during the week are more likely to show early signs of the disease than those who are more active.
Blood tests revealed they had higher levels of markers that suggest the body is well on the way to developing diabetes, the Daily Mail reported.
They said the reasons why are not clear but it could be that women are more prone to the damaging effects of sedentary behaviour.
A team of researchers from Leicester University recruited 505 men and women aged 59 or over and quizzed them on how much time they spent sitting down during the week.
Each volunteer also underwent tests to measure levels of certain chemicals in their blood known to be linked with the onset of diabetes.
The study showed the women sat between four and seven hours every day and the men between four and eight hours.
Those women who sat longest had higher levels of insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar in the body. Raised insulin levels suggests the body is becoming resistant to the hormone and diabetes is starting to develop.
They also had higher readings of C-reactive protein, leptin, adinopectin and interleukin-6, all chemicals released by fatty tissue in the abdomen and which point to dangerous inflammation.
But the same results were not found in men.
In a report on their findings researchers said it may be that women snack more than men during sedentary behaviour, or that men engage in more robust activity once they do get moving.
"This study provides new evidence that higher levels of sitting time, independent of physical activity, have a deleterious impact on insulin resistance and chronic low-grade inflammation in women but not men," the researchers stated.
"It suggests enabling women to spend less time sitting is an important factor in preventing chronic disease," they added.
The finding was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.