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Physical Activity and Reduced Sedentary Behavior for Liver Protection


Consistent Movement Does the Body Good

It may sound like physical activity and reduced sedentary behavior are the same thing, and while doing physical activity reduces sedentary behavior in the moment, it’s what you do with the other hours of your day that are just as important. Does going to the gym for an hour cardio-class then to the office for 8 hours of sitting behind your desk sound too familiar? Inactivity is posing high risks to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which pairs too close for comfort as an overbearing consequence of obesity.


Healthy participants with a variety of different physical activity levels were recruited for a study looking to find connections between liver fat and behavior. If participants had two or less metabolic syndrome characteristics they were considered healthy and if they had three or more, unhealthy, and separated into groups. Metabolic syndrome, in this study, was defined by having high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat, or elevated cholesterol or triglyceride levels.


The metabolically unhealthy individuals had lower physical fitness and higher liver fat. In the unhealthy individuals, for every increase in percent liver fat, the odds of being even more metabolically unhealthy increased by 37 percent. To make things worse, the physical inactivity results were even more eye opening. For every hour of increased sedentary time, liver fat increased by just shy of 1% at 0.87 percent. Interestingly enough, for every increase of 1,000 steps, liver fat ironically decreased by the same amount of 0.87 percent.


We have heard the coined phrase, “sitting is the new smoking” and now we have every right to be concerned that sitting is contributing to many chronic health conditions. Physical activity is important, but the emerging research is suggesting that moving more throughout the day may be more important. We choose how we want to spend the 24 hours of our day. Get up and get moving throughout the day and reduce your sedentary behaviors for better health.

Published July 1, 2017

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