Cardiorespiratory Fitness, Sedentary Behaviour and Physical Activity Are Independently Associated with the Metabolic Syndrome, Results from the SCAPIS Pilot Study

PLoS One. 2015 Jun 29;10(6):e0131586. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0131586. eCollection 2015.


Background: Previous studies on the relation between lifestyle and the metabolic syndrome lack one or several aspects of the physical activity pattern in the analyses or cardiorespiratory fitness. Likewise, both uni- and triaxial accelerometry have been used, though, the predictive validity of these two modes has not been compared.

Objectives: The aims of the present study were firstly to investigate the independent relation between cardiorespiratory fitness and physical activity pattern to the metabolic syndrome (MetS) and secondly to examine the predictive validity of uni- and triaxial accelerometry, respectively.

Methods: Data was extracted from the SCAPIS pilot study (n=930, mean age 57.7 yrs). Physical activity pattern was assessed by accelerometry. Cardiorespiratory fitness was estimated using cycle ergometry. MetS was defined per the Adult Treatment Panel III from the National Cholesterol Education Program definition.

Results: Time spent sedentary (OR: 2.38, 95% CI: 1.54-4.24 for T3 vs T1), in light intensity (OR: 0.50, 95% CI: 0.28-0.90) and in moderate-to-vigorous activity (OR: 0.33, 95% CI: 0.18-0.61), as well as cardiorespiratory fitness (OR: 0.24, 95% CI:0.12-0.48), were all independently related to the prevalence of MetS after adjustment for potential confounders, fitness and/or the other aspects of the physical activity pattern. In addition, we found that triaxial analyses were more discriminant, with ORs farther away from the reference group and additional significant ORs.

Conclusion: The finding that several aspects of the physical activity pattern reveal independent relations to the MetS makes new possible targets for behaviour change of interest, focusing on both exercise and everyday life. When assessing the risk status of a patient, it is advised that triaxial accelerometry is used.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accelerometry
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Physical Fitness*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prevalence
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Sweden / epidemiology

Grant support

SCAPIS is supported by the Swedish Heart and Lung Foundation, the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, the Swedish Research Council and VINNOVA. The SCAPIS pilot study also received funding from the Sahlgrenska Academy at Gothenburg University and strategic grants from ALF/LUA in Western Sweden. Elin Ekblom-Bak has received funding from FORTE (FORTE stands for Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare) and the Swedish Heart and Lung Foundation.