Spending too much time sat down builds fat around your organs – linked to increased risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, experts warn (stock image)

Spending too much time sat down builds fat around organs

Spending too much time sitting down builds fat around the body’s organs and increases the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

A study found people who spent a large amount of time sitting down had higher levels of visceral and total abdominal fat.

Visceral fat is unseen and wrapped around the liver, pancreas and kidneys.

Carrying a high amount is known to be associated with insulin resistance – the driving factor for type 2 diabetes, a preventable condition.

Many of us are chained to our desk for work and the research found the most harmful effect was on those who do not work out in their spare time.

The findings are worrying given that most of us now spend more time sitting than retired pensioners, a previous study found.

The new research suggests that while we may not be able to escape being chained to our desks for hours, meeting weekly activity guidelines can make a difference in reducing our risk of preventable disease.

Spending too much time sat down builds fat around your organs – linked to increased risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, experts warn (stock image)

Spending too much time sat down builds fat around your organs – linked to increased risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, experts warn (stock image)

Lead author of the latest study, Dr Joe Henson at the University of Leicester, said: ‘We know that spending long periods of time sedentary is unhealthy and a risk factor for chronic illnesses, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

‘Likewise, the amount of fat deposited around our internal organs may also predispose us to these diseases.’

How the research was carried out

When it comes to our bellies, we know there’s a difference between subcutaneous fat, the type of fat the lies directly under your skin, and visceral fat, which is unseen and around your organs.

Experts say even slim-looking people can have this dangerous fat on the inside, that’s wrapped around the liver, pancreas and kidneys.

Visceral abdominal fat is also linked to an increased risk of cancer, stroke and heart disease, various studies have shown.

Dr Henson and his team used MRI to scan 124 participants who were likely to develop type 2 diabetes. They also used an electromechanical device called an accelerometers that were placed around their waists to measure how much time these people spent sitting down over the course of a week.

The researchers found that the link between visceral fat and sitting down was strongest for those those who did not meet the public health recommendation of 150 weekly minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity.

Dr Henson said: ‘Using MRI techniques and physical activity monitors we have shown that the more time spent sedentary, the stronger the association with higher levels of internal and abdominal fat.

‘This was particularly so if the long periods of sedentary behavior were uninterrupted.

‘Our findings also show that reaching the […] government’s target of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity may offer some protection against the harmful effects of prolonged sedentary time.’

The study was published in the journal Obesity.

DO YOU HAVE ‘STRESS BELLY’? EXPERT REVEALS WHY YOU CAN’T SHIFT THE WEIGHT OFF YOUR TUM

Does the rest of your body seems to be shaping up, but nothing seems to work to shift that pesky fat around your middle? Then your stressful lifestyle maybe to blame.

That’s according to health expert Jackie Wicks, co-author of new book Cheats & Eats: Lifestyle Programme.

When cortisol – the so-called stress hormone – is too high for too long, it can increase the amount of fat that’s stored on your stomach, she explained.

Also called visceral fat, this is a form of gel-like fat that’s wrapped around major organs, including the liver, pancreas and kidneys. This type is particularly nasty, being linked to increased risk of cancer, heart disease, and stroke.

Health expert Jackie Wicks points out that a stressful lifestyle maybe to blame for excess stomach fat (stock image)

Health expert Jackie Wicks points out that a stressful lifestyle maybe to blame for excess stomach fat (stock image)

Colorado-based Ms Wicks spoke to Healthista about the signs that you’re suffering from ‘stress belly’, as she calls it.

Dieting alone is not enough to tackle the problem, she says – you have to combine healthy eating with stress management techniques.

What cortisol does when you’re stressed

Cortisol, created in the body’s adrenal gland, is essential to give us the get-up-and-go we need to get motivated and focused, which is why it’s usually elevated in the morning.It’s also released during exercise and periods of acute stress.

It regulates energy by selecting the right amount of carbohydrate, fat, or protein the body needs to meet the physiological demands placed on it

You may have heard of the ‘fight or flight’ response that occurs when you’re faced with a stressful event.

During this, cortisol is released from the body’s adrenal glands and floods the body with glucose – the simplest form of carbohydrate and preferred energy source – to give muscles an immediate supply of energy.

Insulin – the hormone that reduces blood sugar – is also released to prevent the glucose being stored as fat and make it freely available to give you the immediate energy to deal with an event.

Once the stress is addressed, hormone balance returns to normal.

Posted on; DailyMail>>

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