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Study: more evidence that too much sitting is harmful to health

by nickj on January 12, 2011

Research published Wednesday by the European Heart Journal found further evidence to back up the well-accepted notion that a sedentary lifestyle is harmful to health and that frequent standing breaks are good for the heart and the waistline.

According to Bloomberg News, the study found a direct correlation between more standing breaks, smaller waists and lower levels of blood inflammatory agents called C-reactive proteins.

"It is likely that regular breaks in prolonged sitting time could be readily incorporated into the working environment without any detrimental impact on productivity, although this still needs to be determined by further research. 'Stand up, move more, more often' could be used as a slogan to get this message across," lead researcher Genevieve Healy told BBC News.

The information for the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey was gleaned from 4,800 study participants with an average age of 46.5 years. The volunteers wore tracking devices during their waking hours for seven days, Bloomberg reports.

Even breaks as short as a minute served to lower adverse health effects. The most active volunteers, who took up to 1,258 short breaks per week, had as much as a 1.6 inch smaller waist, or were two pants sizes smaller, than the least active participants, who took as few as 99 breaks per week, MSNBC reports.

This is the first study to examine the effects of a sedentary lifestyle on a broad, varied demographic. Sedentary time among participants ranged from 1.8 hours a day to 21.2 hours a day, the news source reports.

Researchers cautioned that taking small breaks is no replacement for real, regular exercise.

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