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Sedentary behavior linked to high blood sugar


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By Michelle Rizzo

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - People who tend to be sedentary -- as indicated by the amount of time they spend watching television -- are likely to have high levels of glucose in their blood, even though they may not be diabetic.

Dr. David W. Dunstan, of the International Diabetes Institute, Melbourne, Australia, and colleagues examined the association between television viewing and blood glucose levels, measured after fasting and after a glucose test-drink, in 3781 men and 4576 women in Australia. All of the subjects were free of diabetes at the time.

An interviewer assessed the participants' self-reported television viewing time in the previous week.

After accounting for physical activity time and for factors that can affect blood glucose, the investigators found that the more time women spent television viewing, the higher were their blood glucose levels two hours after they took the glucose test-drink.

This was not seen in men, according to the team's report in the medical journal Diabetes Care.

"The findings reinforce the case for a strong focus in diabetes and obesity research on sedentary behaviors, such as television viewing, in addition to the now well-established base of evidence on the importance of increasing physical activity," Dunstan commented to Reuters Health.

"It is possible that other sedentary behaviors may have an additive effect on risk, in that TV viewing may be a marker for a broader pattern of sedentary lifestyle that includes a variety of other forms of sitting time," he suggested.

SOURCE: Diabetes Care, March 2007.

© 2007 Reuters Health.

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