Modern human environments are vastly different from those of our forebears. Rapidly advancing technology in transportation, communications, workplaces, and home entertainment confer a wealth of benefits, but increasingly come with costs to human health. Sedentary behavior—too much sitting as distinct from too little physical activity—contributes adversely to cardiometabolic health outcomes and premature mortality. Findings from observational epidemiology have been synthesized in meta-analyses, and evidence is now shifting into the realm of experimental trials with the aim of identifying novel mechanisms and potential causal relationships. We discuss recent observational and experimental evidence that makes a compelling case for reducing and breaking up prolonged sitting time in both the primary prevention and disease management contexts. We also highlight future research needs, the opportunities for developing targeted interventions, and the potential of population-wide initiatives designed to address too much sitting as a health risk.
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Neville Owen receives grant support from the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia. David W. Dunstan receives competitive research grants from National Health and Medical Research Council, Australian Research Council, and Heart Foundation of Australia.
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Paddy C. Dempsey declares that he has no conflict of interest. Neville Owen receives book royalties from Sage Publishers; and has received travel/accommodations expenses covered or reimbursed from the University of British Columbia; American Institute for Cancer Research. Stuart J. H. Biddle is a consultant to Weight Watchers on physical activity and sedentary behavior. David W. Dunstan receives royalties from Fitness Australia. He has received travel/accommodations expenses covered or reimbursed from Ergotron Pty Ltd.
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This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
This article is part of the Topical Collection on Lifestyle Management to Reduce Diabetes/Cardiovascular Risk
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Dempsey, P.C., Owen, N., Biddle, S.J.H. et al. Managing Sedentary Behavior to Reduce the Risk of Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease. Curr Diab Rep 14, 522 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11892-014-0522-0
- Sitting time
- Sedentary behavior
- Breaks in sedentary time
- TV viewing time
- Physical activity
- Physical inactivity
- Type 2 diabetes
- Cardiovascular disease
- Cardiometabolic risk