Background: Sedentarism in the workplace, which accelerates risk of diabetes, is least explored in the Indian population. The primary objective of this study was to assess whether prolonged sitting hours in work place predisposes individuals to risk of diabetes and also to estimate risk of diabetes in sedentary workers with a positive family history of diabetes (FHD).
Subjects and methods: Data of age-matched 514 subjects previously undiagnosed with diabetes from two different occupational groups (bank employees and schoolteachers) in Chennai, India from opportunistic screening were taken for analysis. The important explanatory variables were body mass index, waist circumference, duration of physical activity, positive FHD, and random capillary blood glucose (RCBG). Logistic regression analyses were done separately to identify determinants of diabetes in each group. Another logistic regression was performed after combining data to estimate risk associated with diabetes among sedentary subjects with positive FHD.
Results: Factors associated with elevated RCBG among schoolteachers were systolic and diastolic blood pressure, whereas among bank employees, in addition to blood pressure, duration of sitting in work place and positive FHD were significantly associated with diabetes. Combined data analysis showed that subjects with duration of sitting of ≥180 min/day and a positive FHD are three times at risk of developing diabetes. Adjusting for total physical activity revealed that risk was higher among male subjects.
Conclusions: Increased sitting duration for ≥180 min/day at the workplace was associated with elevated RCBG. There was a threefold higher risk for diabetes among these subjects with positive FHD. Encouraging physical activities in such groups, particularly in men, can be beneficial.