Prolonged sitting and markers of cardiometabolic disease risk in children and youth: a randomized crossover study

Metabolism. 2013 Oct;62(10):1423-8. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2013.05.010. Epub 2013 Jun 15.


Objective: Recent evidence suggests that short bouts of uninterrupted sedentary behavior reduce insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance while increasing triglyceride levels in both healthy and overweight/obese adults. To date no study has examined the acute impact of uninterrupted sitting in children and youth. The objective of the present study was to determine whether 8 h of uninterrupted sitting increases markers of cardiometabolic disease risk in healthy children and youth, in comparison to 8 h of sitting interrupted by light intensity walk breaks or structured physical activity.

Materials/methods: 11 healthy males and 8 healthy females between the ages of 10 and 14 years experienced 3 conditions in random order: (1) 8 h of uninterrupted sitting (Sedentary); (2) 8 h of sitting interrupted with a 2-min light-intensity walk break every 20 min (Breaks); and (3) 8 h of sitting interrupted with a 2-min light-intensity walk break every 20 min as well as 2×20 min of moderate-intensity physical activity (Breaks+Physical Activity). Insulin, glucose, triglyceride, HDL and LDL cholesterol area under the curve were calculated for each condition.

Results: We observed no significant differences in the area under the curve for any marker of cardiometabolic disease risk across the 3 study conditions (all p>0.09).

Conclusions: These results suggest that in comparison to interrupted sitting or structured physical activity, a single bout of 8 h of uninterrupted sitting does not result in measurable changes in circulating levels of insulin, glucose, or lipids in healthy children and youth.

Trial registration: NCT01398059.

Keywords: BMI; Body mass index; Glucose tolerance; HDL; High density lipoprotein; Incremental area under the curve; Insulin sensitivity; LDL; Low density lipoprotein; Pediatric population; REE; Resting Energy Expenditure; Sedentary behavior; iAUC.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / blood*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / metabolism*
  • Child
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Male
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Risk
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Walking / physiology


  • Blood Glucose
  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Insulin
  • Triglycerides

Associated data