You are more likely to lose weight if you stand for at least one quarter of the day, says a new study. So, please stand up.
Standing for at least one-quarter of the day has been linked to lower odds of obesity in the study led by the American Cancer Society in collaboration with The Cooper Institute, the University of Texas and the University of Georgia.
While sedentary behaviour (such as watching TV and commuting time) has been linked to negative health effects, it is unclear whether more time spent standing has protective health benefits.
The study found that among men, standing a quarter of the time was linked to a 32 percent reduced likelihood of obesity (body fat percentage). Standing half the time was associated with a 59percent reduced likelihood of obesity. But standing more than three-quarters of the time was not associated with a lower risk of obesity.
In women, standing a quarter, half, and three quarters of the time was associated with 35 percent, 47 percent and 57 percent respective reductions in the likelihood of abdominal obesity (waist circumference). No relationship between standing and metabolic syndrome was found among women or men.
Researchers found that men meeting physical activity guidelines and standing a quarter to half of the time had a 57 percent reduced likelihood for abdominal obesity, whereas those meeting guidelines and standing three quarters of the time or more had a 64 percent lower odds for abdominal obesity.
These findings are cross-sectional, meaning they capture a ‘snapshot’ in time, so it is unclear whether less standing leads to more obesity or whether in fact obese individuals stand less. Additional prospective studies are needed to determine whether standing has protective health benefits.
Finally, it should be noted that some studies have found adverse health effects to prolonged standing, such as increased risk for varicose veins. Therefore, additional research into the effects of standing on health is definitely suggested.
The study appears in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.