Identifying associations between sedentary time and cardio-metabolic risk factors in working adults using objective and subjective measures: a cross-sectional analysis

BMC Public Health. 2014 Dec 19;14:1307. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-14-1307.


Background: Sedentary behavior has been reported to be associated with metabolic and vascular health independent of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). In order to select appropriate options to measure sedentary behavior in practice and research settings, it is worthwhile to characterize the extent to which objective and subjective measures of sedentary behavior quantify adverse health risks in the same population. This cross-sectional analysis compared accelerometer-derived and self-reported sedentary time to identify their association with cardio-metabolic risk factors.

Methods: Cross-sectional analysis was conducted using data from 661 Japanese workers (145 women) aged 20-64 years. Participants wore a tri-axial accelerometer device for 10 consecutive days and completed the Japan Atherosclerosis Longitudinal Study Physical Activity Questionnaire. Data on body mass index, waist circumference, resting blood pressure, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, total:HDL cholesterol ratio, blood glucose, and glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) were obtained from annual health examinations.

Results: Both accelerometer-derived and self-reported sedentary time were deleteriously associated with triglycerides, HDL-cholesterol, total:HDL ratio, and HbA1c after adjustment for potential confounders including MVPA. There were no significant differences in regression coefficients between the two measures. Thus, the magnitude of the associations of both measures with cardio-metabolic risk factors was similar, despite poor agreement between them. Occupational sedentary time was correlated with both measures of total sedentary time, and more consistently associated with cardio-metabolic risk factors than sedentary leisure time.

Conclusions: Both accelerometer and self-report measurements are similarly associated with cardio-metabolic risk factors in a Japanese working adult population. Subjective and objective measures of sedentary behaviors appear to capture different aspects of behaviors. Further efforts to establish data processing methods integrating objective and subjective measures are needed to more effectively assess sedentary time's relationship to health outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accelerometry
  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dyslipidemias / blood
  • Dyslipidemias / epidemiology*
  • Employment
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Humans
  • Hyperglycemia / blood
  • Hyperglycemia / epidemiology*
  • Hypertension / epidemiology*
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Leisure Activities
  • Linear Models
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Self Report
  • Time Factors
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Waist Circumference
  • Young Adult


  • Blood Glucose
  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Triglycerides