Moderate physical activity, watching television/movies for less than 3 hours/day and sitting for under 8.5 hours/day in total reduces the risk and progression of atherosclerosis

In February 2019 researchers from the USA published the results of their study to assess the association between sedentary behavior and physical activity on risk of atherosclerosis in a Mexican American population. Information on leisure time physical activity and sedentary behaviour (sitting during television/movies and total sitting) was collected via questionnaire. Ultrasound was used to measure the carotid intima-media thickness and also the presence of carotid plaque, a sign of atherosclerosis. Results showed no significant association between physical activity, sedentary behavior and intima-media thickness but there was a significant association between physical activity and sitting time during television/movie watching with the presence of carotid plaque. Those individuals who reported moderate levels of physical activity were found to have a significantly lower incidence of carotid plaque compared to those with no activity at all and in those sitting watching television/movies for over 3 hours/day. The researchers concluded that moderate physical activity should be undertaken to reduce the levels of carotid plaque and to avoid watching television/movies with a sitting time of more than 3 hours/day and/or having a total sitting time of over 8.5 hours/day.

Walker TJ et al. The combined effect of physical activity and sedentary behavior on subclinical atherosclerosis: a cross-sectional study among Mexican Americans. BMC Public Health. 2019 Feb 6;19(1):161.

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