Physiology of Sedentary Behavior and Its Relationship to Health Outcomes


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Abstract

PurposeThis article reports on the findings and recommendations of the “Physiology of Sedentary Behavior and Its Relationship to Health Outcomes” group, a part of a larger workshop entitled Sedentary Behavior: Identifying Research Priorities sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and by the National Institute on Aging, which aimed to establish sedentary behavior research priorities.MethodsThe discussion within our workshop led to the formation of critical physiological research objectives related to sedentary behaviors, that is, if appropriately researched, would greatly affect our overall understanding of human health and longevity.Results and ConclusionsPrimary questions are related to physiological “health outcomes” including the influence of physical activity versus sedentary behavior on the function of a number of critical physiological systems (aerobic capacity, skeletal muscle metabolism and function, telomeres/genetic stability, and cognitive function). The group also derived important recommendations related to the “central and peripheral mechanisms” that govern sedentary behavior and how energy balance has a role in mediating these processes. General recommendations for future sedentary physiology research efforts indicate that studies of sedentary behavior, including that of sitting time only, should focus on the physiological effect of a “lack of human movement” in contradistinction to the effects of physical movement and that new models or strategies for studying sedentary behavior–induced adaptations and links to disease development are needed to elucidate underlying mechanism(s).

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