Sedentary lifestyle can kill, as it may lead to various chronic and potentially-fatal diseases. New evidence shows that sitting for long hours increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.

Researchers from Maastricht University found that an extra hour of daily sedentary time such as sitting for long hours, is linked to 22 percent increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

"We found that people with diabetes spend more time sitting than people without diabetes - about 26 minutes more a day," Julianne van der Berg, from Maastricht University in the Netherlands, said.

The population-based study was published in the journal Diabetologia, and aims to find the link of time spent on sedentary behaviors to glucose metabolism and the presence of metabolic syndrome.

The study involved 2,497 participants wore an activPAL3 accelerometer, 24 hours a day for eight days. The accelerometer confirms sedentary activities through analyzing posture.

The researchers then measured the number of sedentary breaks, sedentary time spent each day, prolonged sedentary periods of more than 30 minutes and the average length of sedentary bouts. To measure the participants' sugar levels, they underwent an oral glucose tolerance test.

The findings show that 56 percent of the participants had normal blood sugar, 15 percent had impaired glucose metabolism, and 29 percent had type 2 diabetes.

Participants with type 2 diabetes spent most of their time sedentary for up to 26 minutes more each day compared to participants with impaired or normal glucose metabolism. Also, they were more likely to be smokers, have limited mobility and higher body mass index than the others.

According to the American Diabetes Association, 29.1 million had diabetes in the U.S. in 2012. Out of this number, 21 million were diagnosed, while 8.1 million people are still unaware that they have diabetes.

Each year, 1.4 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes. Moreover, in 2010, a total of 69,071 death certificates listed diabetes as the underlying cause of death and 234,051 listed the condition as a contributing cause of death.

Photo: Tony Alter | Flickr

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