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Associations of context-specific sitting time with markers of cardiometabolic risk in Australian adults

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Dempsey, PC 
Hadgraft, NT 
Winkler, EAH 
Clark, BK 
Buman, MP 


BACKGROUND: High volumes of sitting time are associated with an elevated risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and with adverse cardiometabolic risk profiles. However, previous studies have predominately evaluated only total sitting or television (TV) viewing time, limiting inferences about the specific cardiometabolic health impacts of sitting accumulated in different contexts. We examined associations of sitting time in four contexts with cardiometabolic risk biomarkers in Australian adults. METHODS: Participants (n = 3429; mean +/- SD age 58 +/- 10 years) were adults without clinically diagnosed diabetes or cardiovascular disease from the 2011-2012 Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle (AusDiab) study. Multiple linear regressions examined associations of self-reported context-specific sitting time (occupational, transportation, TV-viewing and leisure-time computer use) with a clustered cardiometabolic risk score (CMR) and with individual cardiometabolic risk biomarkers (waist circumference, BMI, resting blood pressure, triglycerides, HDL- and LDL-cholesterol, and fasting and 2-h post-load plasma glucose). RESULTS: Higher CMR was significantly associated with greater TV-viewing and computer sitting time (b [95%CI] = 0.07 [0.04, 0.09] and 0.06 [0.03, 0.09]), and tended to be associated with higher occupational and transport sitting time (0.01 [- 0.01, 0.03] and 0.03 [- 0.00, 0.06]), after adjustment for potential confounders. Furthermore, keeping total sitting time constant, accruing sitting via TV-viewing and computer use was associated with significantly higher CMR (0.05 [0.02, 0.08] and 0.04 [0.01, 0.06]), accruing sitting in an occupational context was associated with significantly lower CMR (- 0.03 [- 0.05, - 0.01]), while no significant association was seen for transport sitting (0.00 [- 0.03, 0.04]). Results varied somewhat between the respective biomarkers; however, higher sitting time in each domain tended to be associated detrimentally with individual biomarkers except for fasting glucose (non-significant associations) and systolic blood pressure (a beneficial association was observed). Overall, associations were stronger for TV-viewing and computer use, and weaker for occupational sitting. CONCLUSIONS: Higher context-specific sitting times tended to be detrimentally associated, albeit modestly, with CMR and several cardiometabolic risk biomarkers. There was some evidence suggesting that the context in which people sit is relevant above and beyond total sitting time. Methodological issues notwithstanding, these findings may assist in identifying priorities for sitting-reduction initiatives, in order to achieve optimal cardiometabolic health benefits.



Adiposity Aged Australia/epidemiology Biomarkers/*blood Blood Glucose/metabolism Blood Pressure Body Mass Index Cardiovascular Diseases/blood/*epidemiology Cholesterol/blood Female Humans Leisure Activities Life Style Longitudinal Studies Male Metabolic Syndrome/blood/*epidemiology Middle Aged Risk Factors Sample Size *Sedentary Behavior Sitting Position Socioeconomic Factors Surveys and Questionnaires Television Time Factors Triglycerides/*blood Waist Circumference *Adiposity *Cardiometabolic *Cardiovascular disease *Computer *Diabetes *Occupational sitting *Sedentary behaviour *Sitting *Television viewing *Transport sitting

Journal Title

Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC
National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) (via Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute) (APP 1142685)
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CUH) (146281)
Medical Research Council (MC_UU_12015/3)
MRC (via University College London (UCL)) (15012)