Sitting Does Not Cause Diabetes, Research Says
New research led by the University of Syndney in Australia has found that sitting may not be the major contributor to diabetes as once thought. The findings were published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. The study is one of only a few long-term looks at sitting as a contributor to diabetes.
"Sitting has attracted a lot of publicity in recent years for being as dangerous as smoking and for being harmful regardless of how physically active people are. However this is one of the very few long-term studies to investigate whether there is a link between sitting behaviours and risk of development of diabetes," said lead author Associate Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis from the Charles Perkins Centre and School of Public Health.
The study does not exonerate sedentary behaviors, however.
Responses from a long-term health study involving 4,811 middle-aged and older London-based office workers were analyzed. All respondents were initially diabetes-free and reported the amount of time spent on various activities, including sitting during commutes, at work, and at home.
Clinical data based on blood glucose levels from those participating were analyzed until 2011 and compared to the number of new cases of diabetes diagnosed in the cohort. After adjusting for other factors in the study, such as employment grade, diet, etc., the study found that sitting was not a direct contributor to the risk of diabetes when compared to other factors.
"Importantly, our research was among the first long-term studies to distinguish between various types of sitting behaviours - not just TV sitting, which is used in the majority of existing studies. But TV time and sitting time are practically uncorrelated so we have very good reasons to believe that the health risks attributed to TV in the past are due to other factors, such as poorer mental health, snacking and exposure to unhealthy foods advertising," said Associate Professor Stamatakis.