Public Release:  Diabetes risk from sitting around

Women could be more at risk than men -- new University of Leicester study

University of Leicester

A new study has found that women who stay seated for long periods of time every day are more prone to developing type 2 diabetes, but that a similar link wasn't found in men.

Researchers from the University of Leicester Departments of Health Sciences and Cardiovascular Sciences revealed that women who are sedentary for most of the day were at a greater risk from exhibiting the early metabolic defects that act as a precursor to developing type 2 diabetes than people who tend to sit less.

The team assessed over 500 men and women of the age of 40 or more about the amount of time spent sitting over the course of a week, helped out by tests on the level of specific chemicals in their bloodstream that are linked to diabetes and metabolic dysfunction. It was found that the women who spent the longest time sitting had higher levels of insulin, as well as higher amounts of C-reactive protein and chemicals released by fatty tissue in the abdomen, leptin, and interleukin6, and which indicate problematic inflammation.

The study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, revealed that the link between sitting time and diabetes risk was much stronger in women than men, but could not pinpoint why there was a gender difference, although it was suggested that women might snack more often than men during sedentary behaviour, or because men tend to take part in more robust activity when they do get up and about.

Dr Thomas Yates who led the study said: "This study provides important new evidence that higher levels of sitting time have a deleterious impact on insulin resistance and chronic low-grade inflammation in women but not men and that this effect is seen regardless of how much exercise is undertaken. This suggests that women who meet the national recommendations of 30 minutes of exercise a day may still be compromising their health if they are seated for the rest of the day.

'It therefore suggests that enabling women to spend less time sitting may be an important factor in preventing chronic disease.' The paper calls for further experimental research investigating the effect of reduced sitting time on human volunteers

Dr Yates added: "If these results are replicated, they have implications for lifestyle recommendations, public health policy, and health behaviour change interventions, as they suggest that enabling women to spend less time sitting is an important factor in preventing chronic disease."

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The study was supported by the National Institute for Health Research Collaboration in Applied Health Research and Care for Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, and Rutland. The researchers are: Thomas Yates, PhD, Kamlesh Khunti, PhD, MD, Emma G. Wilmot, MBChB, Emer Brady, PhD, David Webb, MBChB, Bala Srinivasan, MBBS, Joe Henson, MSc, Duncan Talbot, BSc, Melanie J. Davies, MD.

Notes to newsdesk

For more information contact: Dr Yates: email ty20@le.ac.uk

The NIHR CLAHRC - LNR brings together all the major commissioners and providers of healthcare services in the region in a partnership with the principal academic institution. This unique collaboration between NHS trusts and the University of Leicester is funded by the NIHR and is part of a five year programme to ensure that the lessons learnt from research studies are rapidly and effectively implemented, and develops research capacity and capability within local healthcare organisations.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) provides the framework through which the research staff and research infrastructure of the NHS in England is positioned, maintained and managed as a national research facility. The NIHR provides the NHS with the support and infrastructure it needs to conduct first-class research funded by the Government and its partners alongside high-quality patient care, education and training. Its aim is to support outstanding individuals (both leaders and collaborators), working in world-class facilities (both NHS and university), conducting leading-edge research focused on the needs of patients. www.nihr.ac.uk

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