Women office workers who spend hours glued to their desks might want to rethink their sedentary workplace habits. A new British study has found women who stay seated for long periods of time every day are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, but a similar link wasn't found in men.
Researchers from the University of Leicester Departments of Health Sciences and Cardiovascular Sciences said an analysis of 500 workers – age 40 and older -- revealed women in sedentary jobs are at a greater risk of developing the metabolic defects that are a precursor to diabetes than more active people.
The team’s assessment was based on tests of specific chemicals in the bloodstream linked to diabetes and metabolic dysfunction. Women who spent the longest time sitting had higher levels of insulin, C-reactive protein and chemicals released by fatty tissue in the abdomen -- leptin, and interleukin6 -- which indicate problematic inflammation.
The study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, suggested the gender differences might be because women in the study reported snacking more often than men during sedentary behavior. Researchers also suggested men tended to take part in “more robust activity” when they did get up and move about.
"This study provides important new evidence that higher levels of sitting time have a deleterious impact on insulin resistance and chronic low-grade inflammation in women but not men and that this effect is seen regardless of how much exercise is undertaken,” said Dr. Thomas Yates who led the study said. “This suggests that women who meet the national recommendations of 30 minutes of exercise a day may still be compromising their health if they are seated for the rest of the day.”