Joint association of physical activity in leisure and total sitting time with metabolic syndrome amongst 15,235 Danish adults: a cross-sectional study

Prev Med. 2014 Dec;69:5-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2014.08.022. Epub 2014 Aug 20.


Background: Recent studies suggest that physical inactivity as well as sitting time are associated with metabolic syndrome. Our aim was to examine joint associations of leisure time physical activity and total daily sitting time with metabolic syndrome.

Methods: Leisure time physical activity and total daily sitting time were assessed by self-report in 15,235 men and women in the Danish Health Examination Survey 2007-2008. Associations between leisure time physical activity, total sitting time and metabolic syndrome were investigated in logistic regression analysis.

Results: Adjusted odds ratios (OR) for metabolic syndrome were 2.14 (95% CI: 1.88-2.43) amongst participants who were inactive in leisure time compared to the most active, and 1.42 (95% CI: 1.26-1.61) amongst those who sat for ≥10h/day compared to <6h/day. Within strata of leisure time physical activity, sitting time was positively associated with metabolic syndrome. For example, in the moderate to vigorous physical activity stratum, ORs were 1.31 (95% CI: 1.11-1.54) and 1.48 (95% CI: 1.16-1.88) in participants who sat 6-10 and ≥10h/day compared to <6h/day.

Conclusion: Higher amounts of sitting time seem to be associated with a higher prevalence of metabolic syndrome, even amongst individuals who are physically active.

Keywords: Health surveys; Metabolic syndrome; Physical activity; Sedentary lifestyles.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities*
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Self Report
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult