Sedentary behaviors, physical activity, and metabolic syndrome in middle-aged French subjects

Obes Res. 2005 May;13(5):936-44. doi: 10.1038/oby.2005.108.


Objective: To study the relationships of time spent in sedentary occupations with the National Cholesterol Education Program-defined metabolic syndrome (MS), taking into account the habitual level of physical activity (PA).

Research methods and procedures: This was a cross-sectional analysis in 1902 men and 1932 women 50 to 69 years of age participating in the French Supplementation with Antioxidant Vitamins and Minerals study. We assessed past-year PA, television watching or computer use, and reading during leisure with the Modifiable Activity Questionnaire. Subjects who performed at least 150 min/wk of moderate-intensity PA (3 to 6 metabolic equivalent tasks) or 60 min/wk of vigorous PA (>6 metabolic equivalent tasks) were considered as meeting recommended levels.

Results: The frequency of most MS components increased with time spent in front of a screen and decreased with increasing PA levels. The likelihood to have MS, adjusted for age, education, and smoking, was decreased by one-third in subjects meeting moderate PA guidelines and by two-thirds in subjects meeting vigorous PA recommendations [odds ratio (95% CI), 0.34 (0.17 to 0.66) in women, 0.44 (0.28 to 0.68) in men] compared with those with insufficient PA. Independently of PA levels, time spent in front of a screen was positively associated with the likelihood to have the MS in women [odds ratio (95% CI), 3.30 (2.04 to 5.34)], whereas in both sexes, no association was found with time spent reading.

Discussion: The relationship of the MS with a sedentary lifestyle differs according to sex and type of sedentary occupation. These results suggest the need to assess selected indicators of sedentary behavior in preventive programs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Behavior*
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Mass Index
  • Computers
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • France
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Reading
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Television