A study has revealed that more physical activity and lesser idle-sitting may reduce the risk of long term obesity.
This research by UCL (University College London) suggested that physical activity and sitting time (or 'sedentariness') were two common lifestyle-related behaviours that are associated with obesity and metabolic health, as well as with chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and with all-cause mortality.
The authors said that the findings added to the literature by suggesting that the combination of high physical activity and low leisure time sitting is a stronger protective factor against becoming obese than either behaviour on its own.
They added that the mechanisms underlying this interaction were unclear and in principle, lower levels of leisure time sitting might strengthen protective effects of higher physical activity, either through independent physiological mechanisms or as a marker for greater engagement in low-intensity activity, such as standing.
Researchers further established that physical activity and leisure time sitting combinations might also simply represent incremental increases in energy expenditure, with the lowest physical activity/highest leisure time sitting group expending the least amount of energy overall, and the highest physical activity/lowest leisure time sitting group expending the most.
As per the researchers, the greatest reduction in risk of developing metabolic risk factor clustering observed for intermediate levels of physical activity and leisure time sitting was unexpected and they suggested that moderate amounts of both moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and leisure time sitting might be sufficient to protect against developing metabolic risk factor clustering over time.
They concluded that the effectiveness of physical activity for preventing obesity might depend on the leisure time spent on sitting and that, intervention studies were needed to examine whether a total lifestyle approach, promoting both high physical activity and low leisure time sitting, was most effective at reducing the risk of becoming obese.
This study is published in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes).