A person who does nothing but sit on the couch and watch television is likely to suffer from health problems associated with weight. A new study has further cemented the link between chronic boob tube habits and diabetes. Accordingly, each hour spent watching TV daily increases diabetes risk by 3.4%.
Lead author Dr. Bonny Rockette-Wagner, senior author Dr. Andrea Kriska, and their colleagues used data from the Diabetes Prevention Program study funded by the United States National Institute of Health. As a backgrounder, this earlier study involved 3,234 overweight American adults. It centered on delaying or preventing type 2 diabetes in high risk individuals either by administering metformin drug or through lifestyle intervention.
The Diabetes Prevention Program study supported other previous studies that have already suggested the importance of lifestyle in reducing diabetes risk. However, what is unknown is whether this intervention effort had any impact on time spend sitting or being sedentary. In other words, all other previous studies suggest that it is not clear whether intervention by promoting physical activity reduces time spent sitting.
Dr. Rockette-Wagner, Dr. Kriska, and their colleagues reexamined the data from the Diabetes Prevention Program study to find out whether the employed lifestyle intervention also decreased sitting time. Furthermore, the researchers examined the effect of sedentary behavior on diabetes development.
Using the data from the study, the researchers found out that diabetes risk increased approximately by 3.4% for each hour spent watching TV after adjustment for age, sex, treatment arm and time-dependent leisure physical activity.
There was a reduction in this association after adding time-dependent weight data to the model—reduced to a 2.1% increased risk of developing diabetes per hour of watching TV, which was not statistically significant—thereby suggesting that subsequent changes in body weight may account for some of the relationship between sitting behavior changes and diabetes development.
“These findings are particularly noteworthy because a decrease in sitting occurred despite the absence of program goals aimed at reducing sitting,” Dr. Kriska. “It is likely that a lifestyle intervention program that incorporates a specific goal of decreasing sitting time would result in greater changes in sitting and likely more health improvements than are demonstrated here.
“Finally, these results should inform future intervention efforts that already focus on goals of increasing activity and reducing weight to also consider emphasizing sitting less.”
Further details of the study are in the article “The impact of lifestyle intervention on sedentary time in individuals at high risk of diabetes” published in the journal Diabetologia.