Hispanics who are inactive much of the time are at increased risk for heart disease and diabetes, even if they get regular exercise, a new study suggests.
Researchers analyzed data from more than 12,000 Hispanic adults in Chicago, Miami, New York City and San Diego. Compared to those who were most physically active, adults who were most inactive had: 6 percent lower levels of “good” HDL cholesterol; 16 percent higher levels of triglycerides, a fat associated with plaque buildup in the arteries; and a 29 percent higher measure of insulin resistance, often a precursor to diabetes.
The more inactive they were, the greater the participants’ heart disease and diabetes risk. Those at highest risk were inactive more than 13 hours a day.
The link between high levels of inactivity and heart disease and diabetes risk factors was evident even if people met recommended weekly exercise guidelines of either 150 minutes of moderate activity, 75 minutes of vigorous activity, or a combination of both.
The study was published Sept. 28 in the journal Circulation.
“Any time people are off their feet and in one place — including while they are sitting and reading, doing office work, watching TV, eating or riding in a car or bus — they are considered sedentary,” lead author Qibin Qi said in a journal news release. Qi is an assistant professor of epidemiology and population health at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Health System in New York City.
“For people who have sedentary jobs, it’s unclear whether more exercise at other times of day can reduce their heart risk. Still, these data suggest that getting up from your desk job to move around once in a while could be beneficial,” Qi said.
Individuals should work with their doctor to reduce their risk through diet and lifestyle changes, medications and other strategies, he said. “Efforts to reduce time spent in sedentary behaviors may play an important role in prevention strategies,” he concluded.
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute offers a guide to physical activity.