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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2015 Jun;47(6):1301-5. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000000518.

Physiology of sedentary behavior and its relationship to health outcomes.

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1Departments of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology and Medicine, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO; 2Cancer Prevention Program, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA; 3Duke Molecular Physiology Institute, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC; 4Mayo Clinic, Obesity Solutions, Scottsdale, AZ; and 5Departments of Biomedical Sciences, Medical Pharmacology-Physiology, and Nutrition and Exercise Physiology, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO.



This 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.


The 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.


Primary 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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