Reallocating time to sleep, sedentary behaviors, or active behaviors: associations with cardiovascular disease risk biomarkers, NHANES 2005-2006

Am J Epidemiol. 2014 Feb 1;179(3):323-34. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwt292. Epub 2013 Dec 6.


Sleep and sedentary and active behaviors are linked to cardiovascular disease risk biomarkers, and across a 24-hour day, increasing time in 1 behavior requires decreasing time in another. We explored associations of reallocating time to sleep, sedentary behavior, or active behaviors with biomarkers. Data (n = 2,185 full sample; n = 923 fasting subanalyses) from the cross-sectional 2005-2006 US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey were analyzed. The amounts of time spent in sedentary behavior, light-intensity activity, and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) were derived from ActiGraph accelerometry (ActiGraph LLC, Pensacola, Florida), and respondents reported their sleep duration. Isotemporal substitution modeling indicated that, independent of potential confounders and time spent in other activities, beneficial associations (P < 0.05) with cardiovascular disease risk biomarkers were associated with the reallocation of 30 minutes/day of sedentary time with equal time of either sleep (2.2% lower insulin and 2.0% lower homeostasis model assessment of β-cell function), light-intensity activity (1.9% lower triglycerides, 2.4% lower insulin, and 2.2% lower homeostasis model assessment of β-cell function), or MVPA (2.4% smaller waist circumference, 4.4% higher high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, 8.5% lower triglycerides, 1.7% lower glucose, 10.7% lower insulin, and 9.7% higher homeostasis model assessment of insulin sensitivity. These findings provide evidence that MVPA may be the most potent health-enhancing, time-dependent behavior, with additional benefit conferred from light-intensity activities and sleep duration when reallocated from sedentary time.

Keywords: cardiovascular disease; isotemporal substitution; physical activity; sedentary behavior; sleep duration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accelerometry
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Blood Pressure*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Statistical
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Risk Factors
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Self Report
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Waist Circumference*


  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Triglycerides
  • Cholesterol