Joint Profiles of Sedentary Time and Physical Activity in Adults and Their Associations with Cardiometabolic Health

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2022 Dec 1;54(12):2118-2128. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000003008. Epub 2022 Jul 30.


Purpose: This study aimed to identify and characterize joint profiles of sedentary time and physical activity among adults and to investigate how these profiles are associated with markers of cardiometabolic health.

Methods: The participants included 3702 of the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 at age 46 yr, who wore a hip-worn accelerometer during waking hours and provided seven consecutive days of valid data. Sedentary time, light-intensity physical activity, and moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity on each valid day were obtained, and a data-driven clustering approach ("KmL3D") was used to characterize distinct joint profiles of sedentary time and physical activity intensities. Participants self-reported their sleep duration and performed a submaximal step test with continuous heart rate measurement to estimate their cardiorespiratory fitness (peak heart rate). Linear regression was used to determine the association between joint profiles of sedentary time and physical activities with cardiometabolic health markers, including adiposity markers and blood lipid, glucose, and insulin levels.

Results: Four distinct groups were identified: "active couch potatoes" ( n = 1173), "sedentary light movers" ( n = 1199), "sedentary exercisers" ( n = 694), and "movers" ( n = 636). Although sufficiently active, active couch potatoes had the highest daily sedentary time (>10 h) and lowest light-intensity physical activity. Compared with active couch potatoes, sedentary light movers, sedentary exercisers, and movers spent less time in sedentary by performing more physical activity at light-intensity upward and had favorable differences in their cardiometabolic health markers after accounting for potential confounders (1.1%-25.0% lower values depending on the health marker and profile).

Conclusions: After accounting for sleep duration and cardiorespiratory fitness, waking activity profiles characterized by performing more physical activity at light-intensity upward, resulting in less time spent in sedentary, were associated with better cardiometabolic health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accelerometry
  • Adult
  • Biomarkers
  • Cardiorespiratory Fitness*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases*
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Sedentary Behavior


  • Biomarkers