Stand more to lower your risk of obesity

Harvard Men's Health Watch

In the journals

Even if you are active, increasing the time you spend standing every day may further lower your odds of becoming obese, says a new study from the American Cancer Society.

The researchers studied more than 7,000 patients, ages 20 to 79, and reviewed the association between their standing time and their risk of obesity. They looked at specific measurements—such as body mass index, waist circumference, and body fat percentage—and metabolic syndrome, a clustering of factors that increases the risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

The participants did not have a history of cardiovascular problems, stroke, or cancer. Each person filled out questionnaires about how much time they stand during everyday activities, like work and household chores. This information was paired with how long and often they exercised, such as walking, running, swimming, and cycling.

The results found that the men who met the basic guidelines for physical activity and stood one-quarter and three-quarters of the time were, respectively, 57% and 64% less likely to be obese. Although the study did not prove that standing was the main reason for the lower weight, it appears that being less sedentary and standing whenever possible can help to improve your health.