International healthcare research has demonstrated the dangers posed by remaining in a sedentary position for significant lengths of time.
The study, which was published in Diabetologia, the European Association for the Study of Diabetes' journal, was led by the University of Leicester's Diabetes Research Group's research fellow Dr Emma Wilmott.
It involved a total of 794,577 participants and combined the findings of 18 different studies and was undertaken through a collaboration with the Leicester-Loughborough Diet, Lifestyle and Physical Activity Biomedical Research Unit at the National Institute for Health Research.
People who sat for prolonged periods of time were found to have a two-fold rise in their risk of heart disease and diabetes, with this link independent of any moderate-to-vigorous physical activity they undertook.
This suggests that people who sit for an extended part of they day may be compromising their health, even if they meet exercise guidelines.
Loughborough University's Professor Stuart Biddle explained that there are a number of ways in which at-risk groups could reduce the amount of time they stay sat down.
He recommended that people place laptops on filing cabinets, "breaking up long periods at the computer at work", engaging in standard meetings, reducing the amount of time spent watching television in the evening and walking around during lunch breaks.
Dr Wilmott, who is also a clinical research fellow in diabetes and endocrinology at Leicester General Hospital's diabetes centre, pointed out that 50 to 70 per cent of the average adult's day is spent sat down.
"The findings of this study have far reaching implications," she pointed out, adding: "People with risk factors for diabetes – such as the obese, those of south Asian ethnic origin, or those with a family history of diabetes – may be able to help reduce their future risk of diabetes by limiting the time spent sitting."