Prolonged Periods Of Sitting Builds Internal Fat Deposits

New research evidence indicates that long periods of siting, or reclining is associated with increased fat deposits around our internal organs.

The study, out of NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Centre, UK, involved 124 people at high risk for type 2 diabetes. Over a seven-day period, accelerometers attached to the participants’ waists measured the time they spent sedentary. Also, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was used to measure the fat in each participant’s liver, visceral (inner) and subcutaneous (outer) fat layers, and total belly fat.

After accounting for differences in age, physical activity levels, and ethnicity, data analysis revealed the more sedentary that a person was during the day, the greater their levels of liver, visceral, and total belly fat. The association was even stronger for those doing less than 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week.

“We know that spending long periods of time sedentary is unhealthy and a risk factor for chronic illnesses, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease,” said lead researcher Dr. Joe Henson, Research Associate at the University of Leicester. “Likewise, the amount of fat deposited around our internal organs may also predispose us to these diseases.”

Henson pointed out that long periods of uninterrupted sitting or reclining were especially linked to more internal and abdominal fat, but that 150 or more minutes of moderate intensity exercise every week may protect against some of the consequences of prolonged inactivity.

“However, the effects of prolonged sedentary time and whether physical activity can play a mediating role by reducing fat deposits on internal organs remain unclear,” says study co-author Melanie Davies, director of the NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Centre, UK, and a professor of diabetes medicine.

The next phase of this research will be examining the effects of interrupting prolonged sedentary time.

Source: University of Leicester
Photo credit: rawpixel.com

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