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By Experts

Sunday, October 21, 2012.

Sedentary lifestyles are widely known to impact on health, however, new research suggests long periods of sitting can lead to a greater risk of diabetes, heart disease and death even in those meeting their exercise requirements.

Research carried out at the University of Leicester identified a link between protracted periods of sitting and the increased threat of diabetes, heart disease and mortality.

Scientists examined the combined results of 18 studies across 794,577 participants to draw up their conclusions.

According to the study published in Diabetologia, the journal of the European Association of the Study of Diabetes, sitting for a long time increased the chances of diabetes, heart disease and death by twofold.

This was irrespective of the amount of moderate-to-vigorous exercise undertaken by the participants, even when they achieved typical physical activity guidelines.

Clinical research fellow in diabetes and endocrinology Dr Emma Wilmot stressed the importance of these findings in light of the fact that the average adult spends between 50 per cent and 70 per cent of their time sitting.

"By simply limiting the time that we spend sitting, we may be able to reduce our risk of diabetes, heart disease and death," she said.

She pointed out that the most consistent associations were between sitting and diabetes, making it even more significant for those with risk factors like obesity and family history to limit the time they spend seated.

Co-investigator on the study Professor Stuart Buddle suggested a number of ways people can keep active throughout the day, even when in an office-based role.

He advised putting a laptop on a cabinet and standing while working, holding meetings where everyone stands and taking walks at lunch breaks.

Government guidelines suggest the average Briton should take 150-minutes of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic activity per week.

This should be complemented by muscle-strengthening of the legs, hips, back, shoulders, chest, abdomen and arms.

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