Nav: Home

Sedentary behavior linked to heart risk in Hispanics

September 28, 2015

DALLAS, Sept. 28, 2015 -- Spending a lot of time being sedentary appears to be risky for Hispanics' heart health, even when they get regular exercise, according to new research in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation.

"Any time people are off their feet and in one place -- including while they are sitting and reading, doing office work, watching TV, eating, or riding in a car or bus -- they are considered sedentary," said Qibin Qi, Ph.D., study lead author and assistant professor of epidemiology and population health at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Health System in New York City. "For people who have sedentary jobs, it's unclear whether more exercise at other times of day can reduce their heart risk. Still, these data suggest that getting up from your desk job to move around once in a while could be beneficial."

Researchers used 2008-11 data from the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos and divided 12,083 Hispanic adults into four groups according to how much time they spent being sedentary, as determined by an accelerometer -- a device that can measure time spent sedentary and physically active. All participants received physical exams, including a blood draw. Participants were of Mexican, South American, Cuban, Dominican, Puerto Rican or Central American backgrounds and they lived in Chicago, Miami, San Diego, or the Bronx, N.Y.

Researchers found that the more inactive they were, the higher their heart and diabetes risks were, according to several health markers. Compared to Hispanics with the highest physical activity, those who were most inactive had:
  • 6 percent lower blood levels of HDL cholesterol (known as the "good" cholesterol);
  • 16 percent higher triglycerides, a fat associated with buildup of plaque in the arteries; and
  • 29 percent higher measure of insulin resistance, indicating that the body isn't able to use insulin as effectively to process blood sugar.
"The highest-risk group was sedentary more than 13 hours a day," Qi said. "The link between more sedentary time and worse test results occurred regardless of whether people met weekly exercise guidelines, which call for 150 minutes of moderate activity, 75 minutes of vigorous activity, or an equivalent combination."

The negative impact of sedentary time on health was consistent across young and old, men and women, and in normal and overweight people, as well as in Hispanics of differing national origins. The research team accounted for multiple factors that could affect health, including education and employment, smoking, alcohol consumption, diet and medications.

"Individuals at high risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes should work with their doctor to manage specific disease risk factors through diet and lifestyle modifications, medications, and other strategies," Qi said. "Efforts to reduce time spent in sedentary behaviors may play an important role in prevention strategies."
Co-authors are Garrett Strizich, M.P.H.; Gina Merchant, M.A.; Daniela Sotres-Alvarez, Dr.P.H.; Christina Buelna, M.A.; Sheila F. Castañeda, Ph.D.; Linda C. Gallo, Ph.D.; Jianwen Cai, Ph.D.; Marc D. Gellman, Ph.D.; Carmen R. Isasi, M.D., Ph.D.; Ashley E. Moncrieft, Ph.D.; Lisa Sanchez-Johnsen, Ph.D.; Neil Schneiderman, Ph.D.; and Robert C. Kaplan, Ph.D.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute funded the study.

Additional Resources:

Researcher video, sedentary activity photos, and heart graphic are located in the right column of this release link After Sept. 28, 2015, view the manuscript online.
Hispanics and Heart Disease, Stroke
Nearly half of Hispanics with high cholesterol don't realize it
Follow AHA/ASA news on Twitter @HeartNews.
For updates and new science from the Circulation journal follow @CircAHA.

Statements and conclusions of study authors published in American Heart Association scientific journals are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect the association's policy or position. The association makes no representation or guarantee as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations are available at

American Heart Association

Related Diabetes Articles:

The role of vitamin A in diabetes
There has been no known link between diabetes and vitamin A -- until now.
Can continuous glucose monitoring improve diabetes control in patients with type 1 diabetes who inject insulin
Two studies in the Jan. 24/31 issue of JAMA find that use of a sensor implanted under the skin that continuously monitors glucose levels resulted in improved levels in patients with type 1 diabetes who inject insulin multiple times a day, compared to conventional treatment.
Complications of type 2 diabetes affect quality of life, care can lead to diabetes burnout
T2D Lifestyle, a national survey by Health Union of more than 400 individuals experiencing type 2 diabetes (T2D), reveals that patients not only struggle with commonly understood complications, but also numerous lesser known ones that people do not associate with diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes and obesity -- what do we really know?
Social and economic factors have led to a dramatic rise in type 2 diabetes and obesity around the world.
A better way to predict diabetes
An international team of researchers has discovered a simple, accurate new way to predict which women with gestational diabetes will develop type 2 diabetes after delivery.
The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology: Older Americans with diabetes living longer without disability, US study shows
Older Americans with diabetes born in the 1940s are living longer and with less disability performing day to day tasks than those born 10 years earlier, according to new research published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology journal.
Reverse your diabetes -- and you can stay diabetes-free long-term
A new study from Newcastle University, UK, has shown that people who reverse their diabetes and then keep their weight down remain free of diabetes.
New cause of diabetes
Although insulin-producing cells are found in the endocrine tissue of the pancreas, a new mouse study suggests that abnormalities in the exocrine tissue could cause cell non-autonomous effects that promotes diabetes-like symptoms.
The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology: Reducing sugar content in sugar-sweetened drinks by 40 percent over 5 years could prevent 1.5 million cases of overweight and obesity in the UK and 300,000 cases of diabetes
A new study published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology journal suggests that reducing sugar content in sugar sweetened drinks (including fruit juices) in the UK by 40 percent over five years, without replacing them with any artificial sweeteners, could prevent 500,000 cases of overweight and 1 million cases of obesity, in turn preventing around 300,000 cases of type 2 diabetes, over two decades.
Breastfeeding lowers risk of type 2 diabetes following gestational diabetes
Women with gestational diabetes who consistently and continuously breastfeed from the time of giving birth are half as likely to develop type 2 diabetes within two years after delivery, according to a study from Kaiser Permanente published today in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Related Diabetes Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Jumpstarting Creativity
Our greatest breakthroughs and triumphs have one thing in common: creativity. But how do you ignite it? And how do you rekindle it? This hour, TED speakers explore ideas on jumpstarting creativity. Guests include economist Tim Harford, producer Helen Marriage, artificial intelligence researcher Steve Engels, and behavioral scientist Marily Oppezzo.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#524 The Human Network
What does a network of humans look like and how does it work? How does information spread? How do decisions and opinions spread? What gets distorted as it moves through the network and why? This week we dig into the ins and outs of human networks with Matthew Jackson, Professor of Economics at Stanford University and author of the book "The Human Network: How Your Social Position Determines Your Power, Beliefs, and Behaviours".