Taking Breaks From Prolonged Sitting Helps Thwart Disease, Research Says

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Taking breaks from prolonged sitting helps thwart disease, research saysPrevious studies have shown that high levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) may increase an individual's chance of developing diabetes and heart disease. CRP is a globulin that is typically produced following acute inflammation in the body.

A new study reveals that people who take breaks from long periods of sedentary activity, such as sitting down at work or watching television at home, may reduce the amount of CRP while increasing the amount of HDL, or "good" cholesterol. The findings, which appear in the online version of European Heart Journal, conclude that people who take more breaks from sitting down have smaller waists than those who do not.

Researchers examined data from approximately 4,757 patients aged 20 and older who participated in the United States Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2003 and 2006. Each person wore a device called an accelerometer, which monitored the amount of physical activity over a week's span. In addition, their waist circumference, blood pressure, cholesterol and CRP concentrations were measured.

"Our research highlights the importance of considering prolonged sedentary time as a distinct health risk behavior that warrants explicit advice in future public health guidelines," said the study's leader, Dr. Genevieve Healy, a research fellow at the University of Queensland, Australia. "In particular, the findings are likely to have implications for settings where prolonged sitting is widespread, such as in offices."

While some individuals search for medication or an artificial solution to their health problems, this study suggests that a more mobile lifestyle can improve one's chances of fighting disease.

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