Sedentary Time and Internal Fat— Are You Sitting Comfortably? Fat Lot of Good That’ll Do You!

There is growing evidence suggesting that spending long periods sitting (sedentary time) is unhealthy— and, the amount of physical activity people do may not offset the effects! The amount of fat around internal organs also may predispose individuals to certain chronic diseases, in particular type 2 diabetes (T2DM). Therefore, the goal of this research was to examine whether sedentary time was linked to the amount of fat stored in the heart, liver and other internal regions among a group that included obese, overweight and other adults with risk factors for chronic disease, such as T2DM. In total, 66 participants underwent a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) body scan. MRI accurately measures the amount and location of internal fat. These subjects were asked to wear physical activity monitors for seven days. Findings suggest that the amount of time individuals spent sedentary had an effect upon heart, liver and inner body fat. These findings persisted regardless of how much physical activity was carried out by these subjects, how much overall body fat they had or the status of their long term blood sugar levels. This study suggests that spending too much time sedentary may result in the harmful storage of fat— both around and within internal organs. Sedentary time is a significant risk factor for developing future chronic disease.

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