November 06, 2015
2 min read

Standing more may decrease obesity, metabolic syndrome risk

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A lower risk for obesity was found among adult patients who stood for at least one-quarter of the day, according to recent study findings published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

“Standing at least a quarter of the time is linked to lower odds of obesity,” Kerem Shuval, PhD, MPH, director of physical activity and nutrition research at the American Cancer Society, told Endocrine Today. “Among those meeting physical activity guidelines (ie, 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity and/or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity per week), standing potentially provides incremental benefits against obesity and metabolic syndrome.”

Karem Shuval

Kerem Shuval

Shuval and colleagues evaluated 7,075 adult patients aged 20 to 79 years (69.6% men) from the Cooper Clinic in Dallas to determine the links between standing time, obesity and metabolic syndrome alongside and independent of leisure-time physical activity. Researchers specifically evaluated BMI, body fat percentage and waist circumference to determine the link between standing time and obesity.

Elevated body fat percentage was the most common among participants (27.1%), followed by obesity (19.5%) and an elevated waist circumference (19.3%). Thirty-two percent of participants did not meet the physical activity guidelines (150 minutes or more of moderate activity and/or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per day) and 19.7% reported standing half of the time or more.

There was a lower likelihood of elevated body fat percentage found with increased standing among men (linear trend P < .001). An inverse relationship was found between more standing and obesity (as defined by BMI: linear trend P = .009) and elevated waist circumference (linear trend P = .04) among women.

There was a 41% reduced risk for metabolic syndrome with standing half the time (OR = 0.59; 95% CI, 0.35-0.99) and a 53% reduced risk for standing at least three-quarters of the time (OR = 0.47; 95% CI, 0.27-0.84) among women. Among men who met physical activity guidelines, there was a 57% reduced risk for abdominal obesity for those who stood one-quarter to half the time (OR = 0.43; 95% CI, 0.34-0.55) and 64% reduced risk for standing three-quarters of the time (OR = 0.36; 95% CI, 0.21-0.62).

A lower risk for obesity and metabolic syndrome was found among all participants who met physical activity guidelines.

“Leading an active lifestyle including habitually engaging in a sufficient amount of physical activity which could include walking, yard or household work, active transportation and sports is linked to a reduced risk for obesity and metabolic risk,” Shuval told Endocrine Today. “Physicians, clinicians and public health practitioners have an important role in encouraging their patients and the population to regularly engage in physical activity.” – by Amber Cox

Disclosure: Shuval reports no relevant financial disclosures.