Sitting All Day and Metabolic Syndrome: Is There a Link Between the Two?

0 comments / Posted on by Daniel Tahany

Sitting all day is one thing you need to avoid to prevent yourself from developing metabolic syndrome - a group of factors that increases your risk for developing heart problems and other health diseases. According to a study published by Diabetes - the official journal of the American Diabetes Association, most people spend too many hours sitting and neglecting the evidence that point to sedentary behavior as the main culprit for metabolic problems - such as metabolic syndrome. There are too many hours not properly spent for non-exercise physical activities and too little effort used to determine the possible ways to increase one’s energy expenditure during leisure time.

Metabolic risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome include a large waistline, high bad cholesterol level, low good cholesterol level, high blood pressure and high fasting blood sugar. Having abdominal obesity – the condition of having a waistline of more than 35 inches in women and 40 inches in men – is a great risk factor for having heart diseases. A high triglyceride level (the bad cholesterol) coupled with low HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol) further accelerates the development of heart problems and possible heart attack. High blood pressure increases the force of blood pushing against the walls of your blood vessels; and if your blood pressure continues to spike over time, your heart becomes damaged. 

Metabolic syndrome is becoming a common problem in the American adult population. An epidemiological study published by National Health Statistics Reports estimates that approximately 34 percent of men and women in the United States meet the criteria for metabolic syndrome. Interestingly, 40-59-year-old adults are three times more likely to have metabolic syndrome compared to their 20-39 year-old counterparts.

Most people believe that they need to make a conscious effort to exercise, burn calories and have substantial physical activity within their lives. However, in reality, non-exercise physical activity takes more time and energy during hours spent awake.

It is common for people to spend half of their available time sitting, idling most of their skeletal muscles. With this kind of sedentary behavior, decrease in the overall metabolic rate and energy expenditure is observed. With less physical activity, an upward trend in the development of obesity and metabolic syndrome happens.

Limiting the high volume of inactivity and increasing non-exercise physical activity are keys crucial to preventing metabolic syndrome. By maintaining an active lifestyle, the dangers and complications of obesity, high bad cholesterol level, heart problems and type 2 diabetes can be eliminated.



Diabetes; Role of Low Energy Expenditure and Sitting in Obesity, Metabolic Syndrome, Type 2 Diabetes, and Cardiovascular Disease; Hamilton, M.T. et al; September 2007

National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: What is Metabolic Syndrome?

National Health Statistics Reports; Prevalence of Metabolic Syndrome Among Adults 20 Years of Age and Over, by Sex, Age, Race and Ethnicity, and Body Mass Index: United States, 2003–2006; Bethene Ervin, R.; May 2009




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