January 16, 2017
2 min read

Prolonged sitting time associated with obesity in men

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A total physical activity plan starting with reducing sitting time can help combat obesity and its health effects in men, according to findings published in Preventing Chronic Disease: Public Health Research, Practice, and Policy.

“Prolonged sitting time characterizes the daily lifestyle patterns of most people living in developed countries,” Carolyn E. Barlow, PhD, of the Cooper Institute in Dallas, and colleagues wrote. “Estimates of median reported sitting time for U.S. adults range between 6.5 to 8 hours per day. Objective estimates, based on waist-worn accelerometers, indicate that adults spend over half their day (55%) in sedentary behaviors.”

To evaluate the relationship between sitting time and cardiometabolic risk factors while adjusting for cardiorespiratory fitness, Barlow and colleagues performed a cross-sectional analysis of patients (n = 6,331; average age, 50.7 years; 71% men) who had daily reports of estimated sitting time, measures for adiposity, blood lipids, glucose and BP and maximal stress testing results. They analyzed whether cardiorespiratory fitness was an effect modifier and controlled for potential confounding effects of cardiorespiratory fitness by using a modeling strategy with logistic regression analysis.

Adjusted analysis indicated that men who were sedentary most of the time (approximately 100%) had greater odds of being obese than men who were sedentary almost none of the time (approximately 0%). The researchers defined obesity by waist girth (OR = 2.61; 95% CI, 1.25–5.47) or percentage of body fat (OR = 3.33; 95% CI, 1.35–8.20). Other cardiometabolic risk factors were not significantly associated with sitting time in men.

In women, sitting time and cardiometabolic risk factors were not significantly associated. The investigators noted that further research is required to clarify the relationship and underlying mechanisms between sitting time and cardiorespiratory fitness in women.

“Our results support physicians who work with their male patients to control risk factors by advising them to reduce sitting time to avoid obesity and its associated health conditions,” Barlow and colleagues concluded. “The reduction and interruption of sitting time can be an initial step in developing a total physical activity plan that includes strategies to reduce sedentary time through increases in physical activity. Assessment of the entire intensity spectrum of behaviors from sleep to vigorous-intensity physical activity will provide health professionals with the information needed to tailor physical activity plans for risk reduction and health promotion.” – by Alaina Tedesco

Disclosure: Barlow reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see complete study for all other author’s relevant disclosures.