Self-reported sitting time and markers of inflammation, insulin resistance, and adiposity

Am J Prev Med. 2012 Jan;42(1):1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2011.09.022.


Background: Sedentary behavior is emerging as an independent risk factor for chronic disease; however, potential mechanisms underpinning these observations are not well understood.

Purpose: This study aimed to investigate the association of self-reported weekday sitting time with biomarkers linked to chronic low-grade inflammation, insulin resistance, and adiposity.

Methods: This study reports data from individuals attending a diabetes screening program, United Kingdom, 2004-2007; analysis was conducted in 2010. Sitting time and physical activity were measured using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire; biochemical outcomes included fasting and 2-hour postchallenge glucose, fasting insulin, C-reactive protein (CRP), leptin, adiponectin, and interleukin-6 (IL-6).

Results: This study included 505 (female=46%; South-Asian ethnicity=19%, aged 59±10 years, BMI=29.5±4.7) individuals with valid sitting data. Increased sitting time was positively associated with fasting insulin, leptin, leptin/adiponectin ratio, CRP, and IL-6 in women, but not men, after adjustment for age, ethnicity, social deprivation, and smoking and medication status; interaction analysis revealed that the gender-specific differences were significant. The associations for women remained significant after additional adjustment for total moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity; however all associations were attenuated when further adjusted for BMI. There was no association between sitting time and glycemic status.

Conclusions: Total self-reported weekday sitting time was associated with biomarkers linked to chronic low-grade inflammation and poor metabolic health in women, but not men, independent of physical activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity*
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / epidemiology*
  • Inflammation / etiology
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Sex Factors
  • Time Factors
  • United Kingdom


  • Biomarkers