Children spend around six hours per day sitting, which sitting can negatively impact their health. Some studies demonstrate that sitting is associated with an increased obesity risk, among other issues. A new study led by the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland finds that it does not take much to counteract sitting’s deleterious effects. Children who walked for three minutes twice per hour saw positive short-term effects in biomarkers related to metabolic health.
The study involved 28 healthy children aged 7 to 11. The children participated in two study sessions, an average of 20 days apart, in which they sat for three hours. Some of the children were required to stay still the whole time, except for bathroom breaks. Other children walked on a treadmill for three minutes every 30 minutes—a total of 18 minutes during the study session. The researchers took biomarker samples from the children 10 minutes before the study, when the study session began, and at 30 minute intervals throughout.
Children who got up to walk throughout the study had better indicators of metabolic health than those who sat through the whole session. The children who took walking breaks had lower insulin, C-peptide, and glucose levels compared to those who did not walk.
The study suggests that taking short breaks to walk amid long stretches of sitting can improve health outcomes for children. “These findings suggest that interrupting sedentary behavior may be a promising prevention strategy for reducing cardiometabolic risk in children,” state the study’s authors.
This research is published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
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