Sitting for seven hours a day ‘raises diabetes risk in women’
- Women prone to damaging effects of sedentary behaviour
- No link found in men
Last updated at 2:50 PM on 22nd February 2012
Women who sit for up to seven hours a day may be more at risk of developing type two diabetes, new research shows.
It found women who spend the most time sitting down during the week are more likely to show early signs of the disease than those who are more active.
Blood tests revealed they had higher levels of markers that suggest the body is well on the way to developing diabetes.
They said the reasons why are not clear but it could be that women are more prone to the damaging effects of sedentary behaviour.
According to the charity Diabetes UK, at the current rate of increase, the numbers affected by type two diabetes in the UK will rise from around 2.5 million currently to four million by 2025 and five million by 2030.
More than a million people are already affected by the condition but do not realise they have it, perhaps because they do not recognise symptoms, such as fatigue, thirst, frequent urination , recurrent thrush and wounds that are slow to heal.
And shocking recent figures suggested 24,000 deaths a year in England alone could be easily prevented if doctors carried out more basic health checks and patients stuck to a healthy diet and took their medicine properly.
WHAT IS TYPE TWO DIABETES?
Around 90 per cent of all adults in the UK with diabetes have type two diabetes.
Symptoms may be controlled by eating a healthy diet and monitoring your blood glucose level.
However, as it is a progressive condition, medication might be eventually required.
Being overweight, physical inactivity and poor diet are major risk factors for the disease.
A team of researchers from Leicester University recruited 505 men and women aged 59 or over and quizzed them on how much time they spent sitting down during the week.
Each volunteer also underwent tests to measure levels of certain chemicals in their blood known to be linked with the onset of diabetes.
The study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, showed the women sat between four and seven hours every day and the men between four and eight hours.
But the same results were not found in men. In a report on their findings researchers said it may be that women snack more than men during sedentary behaviour, or that men engage in more robust activity once they do get moving.
‘This study provides new evidence that higher levels of sitting time, independent of physical activity, have a deleterious impact on insulin resistance and chronic low-grade inflammation in women but not men.
‘It suggests enabling women to spend less time sitting is an important factor in preventing chronic disease.’
The findings mirror those of a study last year which showed spending ten years or more in a sedentary job almost doubles the risk of some types of bowel cancer. According to some estimates, most adults now spend around 55 per cent of their time at work sitting down.
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