Sedentary behaviour, physical activity and a continuous metabolic syndrome risk score in adults

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2009 Mar;63(3):421-9. doi: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602944. Epub 2007 Oct 31.


Objective: The association of sedentary behaviour and leisure time physical activity with a validated continuous metabolic syndrome risk score was investigated in adults.

Subjects/methods: A number of 992 adults (559 men) without cardiovascular disease or diabetes. Subjects reported time spent in leisure time physical activity and television watching/computer activities. A validated metabolic syndrome risk score, based on waist circumference, triglycerides, blood pressure, fasting plasma glucose and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, was used. The metabolic syndrome risk score and time spent in sedentary behaviour and physical activity were analysed as continuous variables using multiple linear regression.

Results: Metabolic syndrome risk was positively associated with time spent watching television/computer activities, irrespective of physical activity level, and after adjustment for age, education level, smoking status and dietary intake in women aged > or =45 years (beta=0.184, P<0.05). Independent of the time being sedentary, moderate to vigorous leisure time physical activity was inversely associated with metabolic syndrome risk in men (<45 years: beta=-0.183, P<0.01; > or =45 years: beta=-0.192, P<0.01) and women aged > or =45 years (beta=-0.203, P<0.01).

Conclusions: Although cross-sectional, the present results support inclusion of efforts to decrease sedentary behaviour in metabolic syndrome prevention strategies for women aged > or =45 years, besides promotion of moderate to vigorous physical activity, since both behavioural changes might show additional effects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Belgium
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / etiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors