CT scans of more than 500 older Americans found that excess time spent sitting “was significantly related to pericardial fat around your heart,” said study lead author Britta Larsen, a postdoctoral researcher in the department of cardiovascular epidemiology at the University of California, San Diego.
There have been numerous large studies recently suggesting that when it comes to its deleterious health effects, sitting is not just the absence of physical activity — it has effects on the body that go beyond lack of exercise.
According to Larsen, that means that “even if you run every day but then you sit for eight hours a day, the sitting is still doing something bad for your health.” She also noted that studies have found sitting to be detrimental to health even after scientists factored out excess weight gain.
The study found that the more time spent sitting, the bigger the area of fat deposited around a person’s heart. Those fat deposits are “strongly related to cardiovascular disease. It gets in the way of heart function, it clogs up your arteries — you don’t want it there.”