By Dr. Henry Sobo

Newly published research in the journal Obesity provides further evidence of the negative health consequences of inactivity. Researchers from the University of Leicester and Loughborough University in the UK shows that being sedentary is associated with greater deposition of fat around the internal organs. This has long been known to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.

This study utilized 124 subjects at high risk of type 2 diabetes, and measured the length of time they spent sedentary over a 7 day period. The study subjects had MRIs done to measure  the amount of fat in the liver, visceral fat around other organs, and total abdominal fat. Their data found that the longer a person remained sedentary during the day, the higher the levels of liver fat, inner (visceral) fat and total abdominal fat.

Dr Joe Henson of the University of Leicester, says, “We know that spending long periods of time sedentary is unhealthy and a risk factor for chronic illnesses, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Likewise, the amount of fat deposited around our internal organs may also predispose us to these diseases. Using MRI techniques and physical activity monitors we have shown that the more time spent sedentary, the stronger the association with higher levels of internal and abdominal fat. This was particularly so if the long periods of sedentary behaviour were uninterrupted. Our findings also show that reaching the UK government’s target of 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity may offer some protection against the harmful effects of prolonged sedentary time.”

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