Leisure time sedentary behavior, occupational/domestic physical activity, and metabolic syndrome in U.S. men and women

Metab Syndr Relat Disord. 2009 Dec;7(6):529-36. doi: 10.1089/met.2009.0023.


Background: This study examines leisure time sedentary behavior (LTSB) and usual occupational/domestic activity (UODA) and their relationship with metabolic syndrome and individual cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors, independent of physical activity level.

Methods: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2003-2006 data from men (n = 1868) and women (n = 1688) with fasting measures were classified as having metabolic syndrome by the American Heart Association/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (AHA/NHLBI) definition. LTSB was determined from self-reported television viewing and computer usage. UODA was self-reported daily behavior (sitting, standing, walking, carrying loads).

Results: LTSB >or=4 hours/day was associated with odds of having metabolic syndrome of 1.94 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.24, 3.03) in men compared to <or=1 hour/day. LTSB >or=4 hour/day was also associated with higher odds of elevated waist circumference (1.88, CI, 1.03, 3.41), low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) (1.84, CI, 1.35, 2.51), and high blood pressure (1.55, CI, 1.07, 2.24) in men. LTSB 2-3 hours/day was associated with higher odds of elevated glucose (1.32, CI, 1.00, 1.75) in men. In women, odds of metabolic syndrome were 1.54 (CI, 1.00, 2.37) with >or=4 hours/day LTSB, but LTSB was not associated with risk of the individual CVD risk factors. Higher LTSB was associated with metabolic syndrome in inactive men (1.50, CI, 1.07, 2.09), active men (1.74, CI, 1.11, 2.71), inactive women (1.69, CI, 1.24, 2.33), but not active women (1.62, CI, 0.87,3.01). UODA was not strongly associated with metabolic syndrome or CVD risk factors in either men or women.

Conclusions: In men, high LTSB is associated with higher odds of metabolic syndrome and individual CVD risk factors regardless of meeting physical activity recommendations. In women, high LTSB is associated with higher odds of metabolic syndrome only in those not meeting the physical activity recommendations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Blood Pressure
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / etiology*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / pathology
  • Metabolic Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity
  • Occupations
  • Odds Ratio
  • Risk Factors
  • Sedentary Behavior
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Waist Circumference


  • Blood Glucose
  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Triglycerides