The study in question looked at 23 international studies that assessed if a link existed between sedentary behavior in adults, body weight, and obesity. All the studies had been adjusted for physical activity levels of participants.
What the researchers found was quite perplexing, as the results of their study saw only a small, inconsistent, and non-significant association between sedentary behaviors and weight gain. Sitting was also seen to have a negligible effect on the risk of obesity.
Waist sized not found to increase significantly over time
Their findings went on to show that over a five-year follow-up period, each hour of sedentary behavior had been only been associated with a 0.02mm increase in waist circumference. This was a negligible finding in the eyes of the researchers.
“The results might seem counter-intuitive as we know that standing instead of sitting does increase energy expenditure slightly, and replacing sitting with moving further increases energy expenditure – but either these changes aren’t large enough to meaningfully impact weight in the long term, or people who move around more are pretty good at compensating for the extra movement by increasing their energy intake,” said lead author Dr Meredith Peddie.
They go on to say that the harmful effect of sitting too much is most likely not caused by weight gain and that other factors are causing the observed increase in mortality.