Associations of total amount and patterns of sedentary behaviour with type 2 diabetes and the metabolic syndrome: The Maastricht Study

Diabetologia. 2016 Apr;59(4):709-18. doi: 10.1007/s00125-015-3861-8. Epub 2016 Feb 2.


Aims/hypothesis: The study investigated cross-sectional associations of total amount and patterns of sedentary behaviour with glucose metabolism status and the metabolic syndrome.

Methods: We included 2,497 participants (mean age 60.0 ± 8.1 years, 52% men) from The Maastricht Study who were asked to wear an activPAL accelerometer 24 h/day for 8 consecutive days. We calculated the daily amount of sedentary time, daily number of sedentary breaks and prolonged sedentary bouts (≥30 min), and the average duration of the sedentary bouts. To determine glucose metabolism status, participants underwent an oral glucose tolerance test. Associations of sedentary behaviour variables with glucose metabolism status and the metabolic syndrome were examined using multinomial logistic regression analyses.

Results: Overall, 1,395 (55.9%) participants had normal glucose metabolism, 388 (15.5%) had impaired glucose metabolism and 714 (28.6%) had type 2 diabetes. The odds ratio per additional hour of sedentary time was 1.22 (95% CI 1.13, 1.32) for type 2 diabetes and 1.39 (1.27, 1.53) for the metabolic syndrome. No significant or only weak associations were seen for the number of sedentary breaks, number of prolonged sedentary bouts or average bout duration with either glucose metabolism status or the metabolic syndrome.

Conclusions/interpretation: An extra hour of sedentary time was associated with a 22% increased odds for type 2 diabetes and a 39% increased odds for the metabolic syndrome. The pattern in which sedentary time was accumulated was weakly associated with the presence of the metabolic syndrome. These results suggest that sedentary behaviour may play a significant role in the development and prevention of type 2 diabetes, although longitudinal studies are needed to confirm our findings.

Keywords: Accelerometry; Diabetes mellitus type 2; Metabolic syndrome; Sedentary bouts; Sedentary breaks; Sedentary lifestyle; Sedentary time.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Sedentary Behavior*