Tuesday 3 February 2015

Are you sitting comfortably?

"It Doesn’t Matter How Much You Exercise If You Also Do This" was one of the headlines which followed the systematic review and meta-analysis completed by Aviroop Biswas and colleagues [1] concluding that: "Prolonged sedentary time was independently associated with deleterious health outcomes regardless of physical activity."

"The benefits of exercise can be blunted if you also spend most of the rest of your day sitting" was a sentence included in the media take on the Biswas review, as further discussion about the dangers of too much time spent sedentary emerge.

It is perhaps not new news to many that there appears to be quite a strong correlation / association between the time we spend perched on our rear-ends and poorer outcome when it comes to health and wellbeing as per the findings of other studies [2]. The Biswas review, as well examining studies looking at "sedentary behavior in adults" also took into account the amount of physical activity when it came to "outcomes for cardiovascular disease and diabetes..., cancer..., and all-cause mortality". The hazard ratios (HRs) indicated something of a increased rate in the various health outcome measures looked at when taking into account the amount of sedentary time across the 47 studies analysed. Ergo, we perhaps all need to spend a little less time sat perched in front of the TV or computer or tablet for more 'optimal' health. At least one country seems to be leading on this...

I have perhaps just a few things to add about the Biswas study which might be important. First is an interesting sentence included in their abstract: "sedentary times were quantified using self-report in all but 1 study." Self-report and sedentary behaviour... what could possibly go wrong? [3] Indeed, that last report by Schuna and colleagues (open-access) carries quite an important name on the authorship list (Tudor-Locke) when it comes to the scientific examination of physical activity. With all the technology about these days helping us to stay fit and active, one might see the concept of self-report replaced one day by something a little more objective.

Finally, given that this is supposed to be a blog about autism research, I do wonder what lessons might be learned from the Biswas study when overlaid with the various studies emerging on sedentary behaviour perhaps being more pronounced for some people on the autism spectrum (see here). I say this not to 'target' one particular label; merely to further promote the idea that tackling physical health and wellbeing should be a core part of improving quality of life for those on the autism spectrum (see here).

Music then. Beck and Sexx Laws.


[1] Biswas A. et al. Sedentary Time and Its Association With Risk for Disease Incidence, Mortality, and Hospitalization in Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2015; 162: 123-132.

[2] Bjørk Petersen C. et al. Total sitting time and risk of myocardial infarction, coronary heart disease and all-cause mortality in a prospective cohort of Danish adults. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2014 Feb 5;11:13.

[3] Schuna JM Jr. et al. Adult self-reported and objectively monitored physical activity and sedentary behavior: NHANES 2005-2006. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2013 Nov 11;10:126.


ResearchBlogging.org Biswas A, Oh PI, Faulkner GE, Bajaj RR, Silver MA, Mitchell MS, & Alter DA (2015). Sedentary Time and Its Association With Risk for Disease Incidence, Mortality, and Hospitalization in Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Annals of internal medicine, 162 (2), 123-132 PMID: 25599350

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