Healthy Living NT

Sedentary LifeStyle

24/04/2015 Written by Leanne Kuchel, Diabetes Educator, Darwin

In January 2010, Baker IDI undertook research that tracked the lifestyle of 8,800 adults. The purpose of this study was to determine how living a sedentary lifestyle affects your health in the long term. By measuring how long the participants spent watching TV researchers were able to determine how long people spent sitting during their leisure time.

Findings were that there is up to an 18% higher risk of dying from heart disease for every hour of television viewing time, a higher risk of death in general and 9% increased risk of dying from cancer.

When comparing with people who watched television less than two hours per day, those who watched more than four hours a day had an 46% increase of death (from any cause) and an 80% risk increase for heart related death.

The rises in glucose levels post meals contribute to health problems including the development of blockages in the heart arteries which increases the risk of heart attack. High glucose spikes also develop the start of retinopathy – a complication of diabetes that can lead to blindness.

Insulin sensitivity improves by as much as 30% after frequent short breaks from sitting after a high calorie meal. Walking at a light pace had similar benefits of walking at a moderate pace. The simple act of moving and standing up was beneficial in itself.

These results were irrespective of common heart disease risk factors which included smoking, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, eating an unhealthy diet and people who had large waistlines.

The take home message from this research is to make the most of breaks in your television viewing and that even a small amount of activity during this time is beneficial.


This article was published on Territory Way edition September 2013. To read more interesting articles please click here

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