Nav: Home

'Our chairs are killing us,' say researchers

September 15, 2015

Amsterdam, The Netherlands, September 15, 2015 -- Prolonged sitting time as well as reduced physical activity contribute to the prevalence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in a study of middle-aged Koreans. These findings support the importance of both reducing time spent sitting and increasing physical activity, say researchers. Their results are published in the Journal of Hepatology.

Physical activity is known to reduce the incidence and mortality of various chronic diseases. However, more than one half of the average person's waking day involves sedentary activities associated with prolonged sitting such as watching TV and using the computer and other devices.

Recently, attention has focused on the damaging effects of sedentary behavior regardless of additional physical activity. A growing number of epidemiologic studies have suggested an association between sedentary behavior and chronic diseases including obesity, diabetes, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and even death that is distinct from those related to a lack of physical activity. This association was still observed among patients participating in high levels of moderate to vigorous physical activity, indicating that regular high levels of physical activity do not fully protect against the risks associated with prolonged periods of sedentary behaviors. However, the association between physical activity and NAFLD has been largely unexplored.

In the current study researchers examined the association of sitting time and physical activity level with NAFLD in Korean men and women to explore whether any observed associations were related to the amount of body fat. They studied records of nearly 140,000 Koreans who underwent a health examination between March 2011 and December 2013. Physical activity level and sitting time were assessed using the Korean version of the international Physical Activity Questionnaire Short Form. The presence of fatty liver was determined using ultrasonography.

Of the people studied, nearly 40,000 had NAFLD. Importantly, the researchers found that both prolonged sitting time and decreased physical activity level were independently associated with increasing prevalence of NAFLD. Remarkably, these associations were also observed in patients with a body mass index (BMI) of less than 23.

Lead investigator Seungho Ryu, PhD, MD, of the Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Kangbuk Samsung Hospital, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea, explained, "We found that prolonged sitting time and decreased physical activity level were positively associated with the prevalence of NAFLD in a large sample of middle-aged Koreans." Co-author Yoosoo Chang, MD, PhD, added: "Our findings suggest that both increasing participation in physical activity and reducing sitting time may be independently important in reducing the risk of NAFLD, and underlines the importance of reducing time spent sitting in addition to promoting physical activity."

"The data from Ryu and colleagues add to the strong and alarming evidence that sitting too much and moving too little has significant negative consequences for cardio-metabolic health," commented Michael I. Trenell, PhD, Professor of Metabolism & Lifestyle Medicine at Newcastle University, UK, and an expert on how lifestyle influences lifelong health and wellbeing and chronic disease.

"The message is clear, our chairs are slowly but surely killing us. Our body is designed to move and it is not surprising that sedentary behavior, characterized by low muscle activity, has a direct impact on physiology. With a dearth of approved drug therapies for NAFLD, lifestyle changes remain the cornerstone of clinical care. The challenge for us now is to 'stand up' and move for NAFLD, both physically and metaphorically," Professor Trenell added.
-end-


Elsevier Health Sciences

Related Physical Activity Articles:

The benefits of physical activity for older adults
New findings published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports reveal how physically active older adults benefit from reduced risks of early death, breast and prostate cancer, fractures, recurrent falls, functional limitations, cognitive decline, dementia, Alzheimer's disease, and depression.
Physical activity may protect against new episodes of depression
Increased levels of physical activity can significantly reduce the odds of depression, even among people who are genetically predisposed to the condition.
Is physical activity always good for the heart?
Physical activity is thought to be our greatest ally in the fight against cardiovascular disease.
Physical activity in lessons improves students' attainment
Students who take part in physical exercises like star jumps or running on the spot during school lessons do better in tests than peers who stick to sedentary learning, according to a UCL-led study.
Physical activity may attenuate menopause-associated atherogenic changes
Leisure-time physical activity is associated with a healthier blood lipid profile in menopausal women, but it doesn't seem to entirely offset the unfavorable lipid profile changes associated with the menopausal transition.
Are US adults meeting physical activity guidelines?
The proportion of US adults adhering to the 'Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans' from the US Department of Health and Human Services didn't significantly improve between 2007 and 2016 but time spent sitting increased.
Children from disadvantaged backgrounds do less vigorous physical activity
Children from disadvantaged backgrounds and certain ethnic minority backgrounds, including from Pakistani and Bangladeshi backgrounds, have lower levels of vigorous physical activity, according to researchers at the University of Cambridge.
Light, physical activity reduces brain aging
Incremental physical activity, even at light intensity, is associated with larger brain volume and healthy brain aging.
Decline in physical activity often starts as early as age 7
Overall physical activity starts to decline already around the age of school entry.
Is it ever too late for adults to benefit from physical activity?
It may never be too late for adults to become physically active and enjoy some health benefits.
More Physical Activity News and Physical Activity Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: Meditations on Loneliness
Original broadcast date: April 24, 2020. We're a social species now living in isolation. But loneliness was a problem well before this era of social distancing. This hour, TED speakers explore how we can live and make peace with loneliness. Guests on the show include author and illustrator Jonny Sun, psychologist Susan Pinker, architect Grace Kim, and writer Suleika Jaouad.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#565 The Great Wide Indoors
We're all spending a bit more time indoors this summer than we probably figured. But did you ever stop to think about why the places we live and work as designed the way they are? And how they could be designed better? We're talking with Emily Anthes about her new book "The Great Indoors: The Surprising Science of how Buildings Shape our Behavior, Health and Happiness".
Now Playing: Radiolab

The Third. A TED Talk.
Jad gives a TED talk about his life as a journalist and how Radiolab has evolved over the years. Here's how TED described it:How do you end a story? Host of Radiolab Jad Abumrad tells how his search for an answer led him home to the mountains of Tennessee, where he met an unexpected teacher: Dolly Parton.Jad Nicholas Abumrad is a Lebanese-American radio host, composer and producer. He is the founder of the syndicated public radio program Radiolab, which is broadcast on over 600 radio stations nationwide and is downloaded more than 120 million times a year as a podcast. He also created More Perfect, a podcast that tells the stories behind the Supreme Court's most famous decisions. And most recently, Dolly Parton's America, a nine-episode podcast exploring the life and times of the iconic country music star. Abumrad has received three Peabody Awards and was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2011.