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Sitting Increases Inflammation…Even if You’re Normal Weight!


Take Home Points

  1. Inflammation, independent of obesity, increases with loner sitting times.

Everyone sits too much in modern society! Think of how many hours you sat today, driving to work, sitting at work, sitting on the exercise bike, and even at the breakfast/lunch/dinner table! Sedentary behavior is associated with increased risk for all-cause and cardiovascular mortality. I know, we all know sitting is bad and that our sedentary lifestyle is impairing our health, but we are still uncertain about the specifics.

Inflammation is also associated with adverse health effects ranging from diabetes to cardiovascular disease. Fear of excessive inflammation encourages many to try anti-inflammatory diets or anti-inflammatory foods. However, what if I were to tell you sitting increased inflammation! Well, Howard (2014) and their team of researchers in Australia looked at self-reported sitting and TV viewing time with two key inflammatory markers, plasma fibrinogen and high-sensitivity C reactive protein (hs-CRP).

Plasma fibrinogen and hsCRP were measured in 3086 Australian adults (mean age: 55±12 years) who participated in the 2004-2005 study. The researchers excluded participants those with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or reported sitting >18 hours a day, as they stated this was implausible [I think we all know a few people who near 18 hours].

“Overall sitting time and TV viewing time were positively associated with plasma fibrinogen (sitting: β: 0.02 g/L, 95% CI (0.01 to 0.02); TV time: 0.03 g/L (0.02 to 0.05)) and hsCRP (sitting: 2.4% (1.2% to 3.6%); TV time: 4.5% (1.7% to 7.4%)). Associations were independent of leisure-time physical activity, but after adjusting for waist circumference, they remained for fibrinogen, but for hsCRP were attenuated to the null (Howard 2014)”.

Sitting time was positively correlated with plasma fibrinogen and hsCRP in men and women. However, the results for hsCRP were mediated when obesity was taken into account. These results suggest fibrinogen is independent of obesity and associated with increased sitting time.

Luckily, previous studies note taking a 2 minute walking break every 20 minutes attenuates fibrinogen, so get up and move when you have long sitting ahead!






Written by Dr. John, DPT, CSCS.