Even if you exercise, the risk of type 2 diabetes is still high if you sit for prolonged periods, according to latest findings. For every additional hour sitting – whether at work or for relaxation – the risk of type 2 diabetes increases by 22 percent.
Lead researcher Julianne van der Berg said, “We found that people with diabetes spend more time sitting than people without diabetes – about 26 minutes more. We all know that physical activity is important, but now we see that sitting is a bad thing. The more you sit, the higher the risk [for type 2 diabetes], regardless of how much you exercise.”
Although an association between sitting and type 2 diabetes has been shown, it does not reveal cause and effect. Furthermore, it is still unclear how sedentary behavior plays a role in the development of type 2 diabetes. The researchers do note that there are large numbers of type 2 diabetes and sedentary behavior worldwide, so it’s important to further explore this link.
There are many lifestyle factors that can contribute to a person’s type 2 diabetes risk, including poor diet, lack of activity, and even poor sleep. Sedentary behavior then plays into these lifestyle factors and thus could be a viable cause of type 2 diabetes.
For the study, the researchers collected data from 2,500 adults with an average age of 60, all part of a population-based study in the Netherlands. Participants wore accelerometers in order to track sedentary behavior. Blood sugar was taken as well.
The researchers found that 56 percent of participants had normal blood sugar, 15 percent had elevated blood sugar, and 29 percent were diabetic.
Participants with type 2 diabetes spent more time sitting, compared to those with normal or elevated blood sugar. The study shows that limiting sedentary behavior is important in order to reduce the risk of diabetes.