Prolonged Sitting Associated With Adverse Health Markers

Frequent breaks linked to smaller waists and lower C-reactive protein and blood glucose levels

THURSDAY, Jan. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Prolonged periods of sedentary time without breaks are associated with worse indicators of cardio-metabolic function and inflammation, according to a study published online Jan. 11 in the European Heart Journal.

Genevieve N. Healy, Ph.D., of the University of Queensland in Herston, Australia, and colleagues, evaluated the links between accelerometer-derived length of sedentary time and number of breaks, and cardio-metabolic and inflammatory-risk biomarkers. They analyzed data from 4,757 people aged 20 and older, who participated in the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2003 and 2006. Evaluated markers included waist circumference, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and C-reactive protein, as well as levels of triglycerides, plasma glucose, and insulin in a fasting subsample.

The study team found that prolonged periods of sedentary time, even in people who did moderate to vigorous exercise, were related to larger waist circumferences, lower levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and higher levels of C-reactive protein, triglycerides, insulin, HOMA-%B, and HOMA-%S. More frequent breaks were associated with reduced waist circumference and lower C-reactive protein levels. Some racial and ethnic differences were noted. Longer sedentary time had an adverse effect on waist circumference for non-Hispanic whites only, but made no difference to Mexican Americans, and appeared beneficial for non-Hispanic blacks.

"Reducing and regularly breaking up sedentary time may be an important adjunct health message, alongside the well-established recommendation for regular participation in exercise," the authors write.

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