Whether you are sitting on the couch watching television or sitting in front of a computer at work, each extra sedentary hour increases your risk of getting Type 2 diabetes by 22 percent! This is shocking news to most of us. Most people know lying on the couch or sitting in your favorite recliner eating chips and binge watching your favorite DVR’d shows for hours is not good for your health. But, did you know that sitting at your desk at the office could have the same grave consequences?
A new research study conducted by Julianne van der Berg, Maastricht University, the Netherlands, and co-researchers was published February 3, 2016 in the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (Diabetologia) released this new information that may be extraordinarily useful in not only the treatment of Type 2 diabetes, but more importantly its prevention.
How The Study Was Conducted
The researchers in this study gathered data from 2,497 subjects with a mean age of sixty years, of which 52 percent were males. The study was conducted by placing a activPAL3 accelerometer on the thigh of each of the 2,497 participants for 24 hours a day, for eight days in a row. From the accelerometer data the researchers were able to calculate the amount of each of the study subjects sedentary time each day for eight days in a row. Included in this data was the number of sedentary breaks (when the subjects got up and moved), the number of sedentary periods of thirty minutes or more, as well as the average length of these sedentary periods. In order to determine the participants’ presence of diabetes or non presence of diabetes blood sugar levels, each of the 2,497subjects were given an oral glucose tolerance test.
What The Study Showed
The results of this study indicated that of the 2,497 people studied 56 percent of the subjects (1,395 of the people) had a blood sugar level within the normal range. The remainder of the study participants had blood sugar levels that were above the normal range, 15 percent (388 people) had a pre-diabetes blood sugar level, and 29 percent (714 people) had blood sugar levels that indicate Type 2 diabetes.
The study showed that the subjects with blood sugar levels indicating Type 2 diabetes had the highest levels of sedentary time, 26 minutes more per day than did the test subjects with the normal or pre-diabetes blood sugar levels. The increased risk of diabetes per additional hour of sedentary time was an astonishing 22 percent, which is each and every additional hour your odds of developing Type 2 diabetes increases 22 percent more. The study also indicated that there was no significant association seen for the number of sedentary breaks, the number of prolonged sedentary periods, nor the average length of the sedentary periods in relation to diabetes status.
What The Research Authors Of This Study Stated
The researchers that conducted this study Julianne van der Berg, Maastricht University, the Netherlands and her associates, stated that this study is the largest ever conducted that utilized “posture-identifying” accelerometry to objectively evaluate the total length and patterns of sedentary behavior in a group of test subjects with diabetics with Type 2 diabetes, pre-diabetics, and those with normal blood sugar levels.
The authors of the study concluded the following:
“An extra hour of sedentary time was associated with a 22% increased odds for type 2 diabetes. Future studies in participants with type 2 diabetes should be conducted to confirm our results… nevertheless, our findings could have important implications for public health as they suggest that sedentary behaviour may play a significant role in the development and prevention of type 2 diabetes, independent of high-intensity physical activity. Consideration should be given to including strategies to reduce the amount of sedentary time in diabetes prevention programmes.”
Beyond the scientific data’s disturbing results, this valuable information should be utilized now rather than later to turn lemons into lemonade. Knowing that sedentary time can be a major catalyst for pre-diabetes and diabetes Type 2 makes this particular avenue of entry for the disease very controllable and a great prevention tool in fighting the off the disease before it can begin. If you work from a computer and are stuck behind a desk you may want to press your boss to consider an adjustable standup desk and purchase one for your home office.
If a standup desk is not an option for you, medical experts say moving your feet while seated and getting up from your desk every 25 minutes or so for a short walk around will help to stave off sedentary time. Utilize your break and lunch hour to take a stroll outside when possible, fresh air and sunshine is always an added benefit to your health. What ever you can do to break up sedentary time is literally a healthy step in the right direction.