Richard Rosenkranz, assistant professor of human nutrition, at Kansas State University and colleagues examined the associations of sitting time and chronic diseases in middle-aged Australian males.
Rosenkranz, and Emma George and Gregory Kolt, both at the University of Western Sydney, said the study involved 63,048 men ages 45-65 from the Australian state of New South Wales. Study participants reported the presence or absence of various chronic diseases, along with their daily sitting time: categorized as less than 4 hours, 4 to 6 hours, 6 to 8 hours, or more than 8 hours.
Compared with those who reported sitting 4 hours or less per day, those who sat for more than 4 hours per day were significantly more likely to report having a chronic disease such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.
The study, published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, found those sitting for at least 6 hours were significantly more likely to report having diabetes.
"We saw a steady stair-step increase in risk of chronic diseases the more participants sat," Rosenkranz said. "The group sitting more than 8 hours clearly had the highest risk."
The study is relevant to office workers sitting at desks and those sitting for long periods of time such as truck drivers, Rosenkranz said.