South Korea – A team of Korean researchers found that those who sit for more than 10 hours a day have 9% higher risk of developing Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) than those who sit less than 5 hours a day. The study was published in the Journal of Hepatology.

Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) is the buildup of extra fat in liver cells that is not caused by alcohol. NAFLD may cause the liver to swell, making the person to be at risk of suffering cirrhosis over time and liver cancer or liver failure.

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The team looked at the data of 139,056 Koreans with an average age of 40 years old who were examined between 2011 and 2013 and were found generally healthy. Before making an ultrasonography to find if they had NAFLD, the researchers asked for the amounts of hours they spent sitting and how often they do exercise. The results showed that 39,257 people suffered from NAFLD.

These results need to be taken into account for, according to the lead study author, Dr. Seungho Ryu, the average person spends more than eight hours sitting.

One way to prevent NAFLD, even when having an office job that demands to remain sited, is to do exercise on a regular basis. People in the experiment who reported to exercise almost daily, had 20% less chance to suffer from this condition. However, that does not mean they are risk-free.

Previous studies

Too much sitting is already associated with a higher risk of anxiety disorder, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and shorter life spans.

A previous study, published on January 20th in the Journal Annals of Internal Medicine, found there was a relationship between sitting and mortality. The researchers looked at 47 studies and found that people who sit for long periods were 24 percent more likely to die from health problems during the studies, which lasted between 1 and 16 years, compared with people who sat less.

The scientists found that sitting for too long is linked to a 18% increased risk of dying of a cardiovascular disease and 17% increased risk of dying from cancer. There is also a 91% risk of getting type 2 diabetes and about a 13% increase in the risk of being diagnosed with cancer or heart problems.

Source: Journal of Hepatology