Getting more exercise can help people lose weight after long periods of inactivity
Dr Joe Henson, Research Associate at the University of Leicester, who led the study, said: “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 (magnetic resonance imaging) 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.”
Professor Melanie Davies, Director of the NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Centre, UK, Professor of Diabetes Medicine at the University of Leicester and a co-author of the study, said: “Lack of physical activity and being overweight are two risk factors associated with type 2 diabetes. However, the effects of prolonged sedentary time and whether physical activity can play a mediating role by reducing fat deposits on internal organs remain unclear.
“This research starts to shed a light on any connections between the two by using MRI to measure the distribution of fat in an individual’s body and analysing that in relation to their activity levels. The next step would be to examine the impact of regularly breaking up prolonged sedentary time upon internal fat levels.”
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