People who spend time walking as well as just standing instead of sitting down may be at lower risk of diabetes, a UK study suggests.
Previous research has linked type 2 diabetes, which is tied to aging and obesity and sedentary time together and happens when the body can not properly use insulin to convert blood sugar into energy.
For the current study, researchers requested 435 adults at risk for developing diabetes to wear activity monitors around the clock for one to observe how long they spent walking, standing and sitting. Then they examined lab tests to see how well their bodies processed sugar and insulin.
Findings from this study "provide additional encouraging evidence" that only replacing standing for sitting through the day may enhance markers of type 2 diabetes, said study coauthor Dr. Joseph Henson, a diabetes researcher at the University of Leicester.
"Nonetheless, stronger relationships were observed for stepping, so emphasizing the continuing value of more extreme physical activity," Henson said by e-mail.
Study participants were 67 years old on average. Most of them had excess fat round the midsection and were either obese or overweight, and about one third had a family history of diabetes.
Each day, participants spent an average of 9.4 hours sitting or lying down during their waking hours.
Individuals who replaced 30 minutes of lengthy sitting time with shorter bouts of sitting had a 4 percent reduction in fasting insulin levels, researchers computed.
Nevertheless, they had 5 percent fall in fasting insulin levels, and walking instead was correlated with an 11 percent change if participants replaced prolonged sitting with standing, researchers report in BMJ Open.
When folks swapped short periods of sitting for standing, yet the study did not find an association between blood sugar or insulin levels. Instead of sitting for brief intervals, stepping was linked to a 7 percent fall in fasting insulin.
The analysis was not a controlled experiment and can not establish how different action levels directly influence the risk of diabetes, the authors notice. Researchers also used statistical models to estimate how much changes in action might influence insulin and blood sugar.
Still, the results add to an increasing body of evidence indicating that even small reductions in sedentary time may help lower the threat of diabetes, said Bethany Barone Gibbs, a researcher in the University of Pittsburgh who wasn't involved in the study. You may find more details on the article at diabetes forums