Aims/hypothesis: The study aimed to examine the associations between objectively measured sedentary time, breaks in sedentary time, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and total physical activity with markers of cardiometabolic health in a population with known risk factors for type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Methods: This study reports data from two ongoing diabetes prevention programmes. Participants with known risk factors were recruited from primary care practices located within the East Midlands, UK, over the period 2010-2011. ActiGraph GT3X accelerometers (15 s epochs) were used to assess sedentary time (<25 counts per 15 s), MVPA (≥ 488 counts per 15 s) and total physical activity (total counts). A break was considered as any interruption in sedentary time (≥ 25 counts per 15 s). Linear regression examined the independent association of sedentary time, breaks in sedentary time, MVPA and total physical activity with markers of cardiometabolic health.
Results: The sample comprised 878 participants; 153 from Project STAND (Sedentary Time And Diabetes) (age 32.9 ± 5.6 years, 28.8% male) and 725 from Walking Away from Diabetes (age 63.7 ± 7.8 years, 64.8% male). Following adjustment for various covariates, including MVPA and BMI, there were detrimental linear associations of sedentary time with 2 h plasma glucose (standardised beta coefficient) (β = 0.220, p < 0.001), triacylglycerol (β = 0.206, p = 0.001) and HDL-cholesterol (β = -0.123, p = 0.029). Breaks in sedentary time, total physical activity and MVPA were significantly inversely associated with measures of adiposity, but not with any other cardiometabolic variables after adjustment for sedentary time and BMI.
Conclusions/interpretation: In adults at high risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus, time spent sedentary is strongly and adversely associated with cardiometabolic health and may be a more important indicator of poor health than MVPA.