A research study out of Kansas State University looked at the association of time spent sitting and chronic diseases in middle aged males. The study which looked at Australian men was published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.
The researchers looked at 63,048 men who were aged between 45 and 65 form the Australian State of new South Whales. Participants in the survey reported on chronic conditions that they had and how long per day they sat. Times were split into groups; less than four hours, four to six hours, six to eight hours and more than eight hours.
Men who sat more than four hours per day had a higher incidence of chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, cancer or high blood pressure. The longer that people sat for on an average day, the increase of chronic diseases rose.
"We saw a steady stair-step increase in risk of chronic diseases the more participants sat," Rosenkranz, the lead author on the paper said. "The group sitting more than eight hours clearly had the highest risk."
"We know that with very high confidence that more physically active people do better with regard to chronic disease compared with less physically active people, but we should also be looking at reducing sitting," Rosenkranz said. "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."
What was interesting is that the rates of these chronic diseases did not correlate to body mass index (BMI), so no matter how much the men weighed, their sitting habits were making a large impact on their overall health.
In general, people should get more physical activity and sit less, Rosenkranz said.
"It's not just that people aren't getting enough physical activity, but it's that they're also sitting too much," he said. "And on top of that, the more you sit, the less time you have for physical activity."
The question then becomes, if most jobs have people sit at their jobs, and exercising outside of work had little impact, how could such a situation be fixed?
The Study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity can be found here.