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Interrupting sitting with brief bouts of light-intensity walking or simple resistance activities significantly improves cardiometabolic risk markers in overweight adults with type 2 diabetes, according to a study led by PhD candidate in the Physical Activity Laboratory, Paddy Dempsey.

The findings of the study, published in Diabetes Care in April 2016, may help people with type 2 diabetes to reduce the risk of developing diabetic complications, heart disease or stroke, and potentially represent an important and practical public health and clinical intervention strategy for such patients.

The study examined 24 inactive, overweight or obese men and women with type 2 diabetes over eight hours on three separate days. Compared with uninterrupted sitting, both activity-break conditions significantly attenuated post-meal blood glucose, insulin, C-peptide and triglyceride responses.

This is the first experimental study of this nature to be conducted in patients with type 2 diabetes. The findings are consistent with similar experimental studies in non-diabetic populations. Importantly, the frequent activity bouts employed in this study appear to deliver more pronounced reductions in glucose and insulin responses — suggesting that patients with type 2 diabetes may derive even greater benefit with regular sitting breaks.

The study authors are calling on healthcare professionals to promote the message of ‘sitting less and moving more’ or even consider prescribing regular interruptions in sitting time to patients with type 2 diabetes.

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