Scientists have found that a reduction in physical activity and an increase in sedentary behaviour has detrimental effects on the body, and could be more harmful if a first-degree relative has type 2 diabetes.

"The results of our study highlight the critical importance of avoiding low levels of physical activity and sedentary behaviour, for example too much sitting, television viewing, computer gaming and so on," said Kelly Bowden Davies from the University of Liverpool in the UK.

"We know the benefits of exercise, the challenge now is to encourage people to simply move more and sit less," said Davies.The study looked at 45 people with active lifestyles, including 16 who have close blood relatives with type 2 diabetes.

After 14 days of reduced physical activity, all participants had higher levels of fat and their bodies were less able to respond to the hormone, insulin (known as insulin resistance).

In those closely related to someone with type 2, a greater amount of fat was gained around their waist and in their blood, which are strong risk factors for the development of the condition.

The participants were assessed again 14 days after resuming normal activity and the researchers found the adverse effects were reversed. This stresses how beneficial physical activity can be, and the important role it plays in reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The study was presented at the annual Diabetes UK Professional Conference.

Type 2 diabetes is a serious, lifelong condition where your blood glucose level is too high. More than 4.6 million people in the UK have diabetes, and around 90 percent of these have type 2 diabetes. It is estimated that 12.3 million people are at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

"Our day to day physical activity is key to abstaining from disease and health complications. In a group of physically active, healthy young individuals that met the recommended physical activity guidelines, just 14 days of increased sedentary behaviour induces small but significant changes in their health," said Daniel Cuthbertson from the University of Liverpool.

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