Sitting more linked to higher heart disease, diabetes risk in older women

In a new study, researchers found that longer sitting times were linked to higher levels of heart disease risk among overweight and obese postmenopausal women.

The research was conducted by a team at Arizona State University.

The study included a total of 518 women with an average age of 63 years and an average body mass index (BMI) of 31 kg/m2 (the clinical definition of obesity is a BMI ≥30).

Study participants wore accelerometers on their right hip for up to 14 days, removing the devices only to sleep, shower or swim.

From this data, the average total sitting time per day and the average time that participants spent in periods of uninterrupted sitting were calculated.

A single blood test, concurrent with accelerometer wear, measured blood sugar, and insulin resistance.

The researchers were surprised to observe such a strong negative link between the amount of time spent sitting and insulin resistance.

Each additional hour of sitting time per day was linked with a more than 6% higher fasting insulin and a more than 7% increase in insulin resistance.

Each additional 15 minutes in the average sitting period was associated with a greater than 7% higher fasting insulin and an almost 9% increase in insulin resistance.

Insulin resistance is a strong risk factor for both heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

The findings showed, among older women, that too much time in sedentary behaviors was associated with a higher risk for diabetes and heart disease.

Reducing sitting time improves glucose control and blood flow, and engaging in physical activities, even light-intensity daily life activities like cooking and shopping, show favorable associations with reduced mortality risk and prevention of heart disease and stroke.

The lead author of the study is Dorothy D. Sears, Ph.D., a professor of nutrition at the Arizona State University College of Health Solutions.

The study is published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

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