sitting workplace wellness

More Risks from Too Much Sitting: Increased Sugar Levels

Yesterday we reported on a new study ties sitting to mortality risk: “Excessive sedentary time is ubiquitous in Western societies. Previous studies have relied on self-reporting to evaluate the total volume of sedentary time as a prognostic risk factor for mortality and have not examined whether the manner in which sedentary time is accrued (in short or long bouts) carries prognostic relevance,” write the authors of the study titled “Patterns of Sedentary Behavior and Mortality in U.S. Middle-Aged and Older Adults: A National Cohort Study” in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The authors conclude: “Both the total volume of sedentary time and its accrual in prolonged, uninterrupted bouts are associated with all-cause mortality, suggestive that physical activity guidelines should target reducing and interrupting sedentary time to reduce risk for death.”

Decreasing prolonged sitting — and increasing movement — are areas where a well-run workplace wellness program can make a difference as part of the goal to improve member health and reduce overall health costs.

And the benefits can come in other ways, too.

Keith M. Diaz, PhD, of Columbia University Medical Center told MedPage Today: “Some of the best available evidence suggests that excessive sedentary time can cause abnormally high levels of sugar and, over time, could lead to diabetes. One of the reasons for this is related to our skeletal muscles, which require fuel such as glucose to operate and take in glucose from our blood.”

Indeed, one study was published by the American Heart Association journal Circulation and titled Prolonged, Uninterrupted Sedentary Behavior and Glycemic Biomarkers Among US Hispanic/Latino Adults.

The background: “Excessive sedentary time is ubiquitous in developed nations and is associated with deleterious health outcomes. Few studies have examined whether the manner in which sedentary time is accrued (in short or long bouts) carries any clinical relevance. The purpose of this study was to examine the association of prolonged-uninterrupted sedentary behavior with glycemic biomarkers in a cohort of U.S. Hispanic/Latino adults.”

The conclusion: “Accruing sedentary time in prolonged, uninterrupted bouts may be deleteriously associated with biomarkers of glucose regulation.”

Many jobs require long periods of sitting. Studies continue to show that regularized movement — and decreased prolonged sitting — bring benefits. And these are areas where a well-run workplace wellness program can bring regularized behavioral change.