Men who spend most their day sitting down may be at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer and other chronic diseases.
A new study by researchers at Kansas State University, published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, found that men who sat for more than four hours a day had an elevated risk of chronic disease .
Led by researcher Richard Rosenkranz, the team assessed over 63,000 Australian men aged 45-65 on their health, level of physical activity and time spent sitting each day.
After accounting for factors like age, body mass index, income and education, they found that men who sat for more than four hours a day were at a significantly increased risk of developing chronic disease compared to those who sat for less than four hours.
The longer the time spent sitting, the higher the risk became. In particular, men who sat for longer than eight hours each day were found to have a particularly high risk of type 2 diabetes.
“We saw a steady stair-step increase in risk of chronic diseases the more participants sat,” Richard Rosenkranz, an assistant professor of human nutrition at Kansas State University, said in a statement.
He explained that the finding is especially relevant to office workers, who spend the majority of their day sat at their desk and therefore have less time for physical activity.
“A lot of office jobs that require long periods of sitting may be hazardous to your health because of inactivity and the low levels of energy expenditure” he said.
However, he added that the study does not make it clear whether the amount of sitting time was directly responsible for the development of chronic disease, or if those with chronic diseases were more likely to sit for longer hours.
“It’s a classic case of, ‘Which came first: the chicken or the egg?” Rosenkranz concluded.

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