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Taking Short Breaks From Sitting May Help Waistline and Heart
Date:1/12/2011

vascular risk. These changes can be readily incorporated into the person's day-to-day life [including the work environment]. Stand up, move more, more often, could be used as a slogan to help get this message across."

The authors pointed out that in developed countries people spend more than half of their day sitting, on average. At the same time, they point out that heart disease is the number cause of premature death in both the United States and Europe.

To explore the potential connection between the two, Healy and her colleagues crunched numbers taken from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The data involved about 4,800 American men and women aged 20 and up who participated in the survey between 2003 and 2006.

All those surveyed had been outfitted with a accelerometer on their hip, to monitor a week's worth of walking, running and sitting routines. In addition, the authors looked at measurements concerning a number of heart disease-related risk factors, including waist circumference, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

At the extremes, the most sedentary participants were found to sit a little more than 21 hours per day, while the least sedentary sat just under two hours per day. The fewest activity breaks taken over the course of a full week amounted to less than 100, while the most weekly breaks registered at nearly 1,300.

The team found that, for white participants, the longer they spent being sedentary the larger their waist circumference. Racial differences did seem to play a role, as Mexican-Americans didn't seem to be impacted by this association while blacks actually demonstrated the opposite dynamic.

Blood fat (triglyceride) levels were also found to be significantly higher among the most sedentary, as were signs of insulin resistance, often a precursor to diabetes.

Overall, those who took the most breaks from sitting (even if they spent a great deal of time being sedentary) were foun
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