Spending too much time sitting down has been associated with various health problems, from obesity to higher risk of heart disease or colon cancer.
A new study now looks further into the matter, revealing that prolonged sitting leads to a higher risk of fatty liver disease.
A team of Korean researchers looked at the data of about 140,000 people who were examined by health experts between 2011 and 2013. All of these people were generally healthy and they were, on average, about 40 years old.
They had to answer questions related to the amount of physical exercises they did and their sitting time. Afterwards they underwent an ultrasonography to determine whether they had a non-alcoholic fatty liver (NALFD).
Almost 40,000 people suffered from this condition, in spite of the fact that, on average, their body mass index was below 23.
The researchers said that those who usually sat down at least ten hours every day had 9 percent higher chances of getting NALFD than the ones who only spent five hours sitting. People who exercised on a regular basis lowered their chances of suffering from NALFD by 20 percent.
The lead study author, Dr. Seungho Ryu, who is also a professor of environmental and occupational medicine at Kangbuk Samsung Hospital in South Korea said that unfortunately, the amount of time people spend sitting down is on increase mode, as now the average person spends more than eight hours sitting. Obviously, this affects people’s health on the long term.
Thus, health experts need to advise their patients to try to do as much physical activity as possible, even if they have office jobs, which require sitting down most of the time.
However, the study also shows that even people who were physically active were not necessarily risk-free when it came to NALFD if they spent most of their time sitting down. Therefore, it is important to note that we need to reduce their sitting time as much as possible.
Statistics now show that almost a fifth of the people living in the United States have NALFD
“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,” said Professor Michael I Trenell, from Newcastle University in the United Kingdom.
The results of the study were published in the Journal of Hepatology.
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