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SenseWear-Determined Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior and Metabolic Syndrome


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: March 2013 - Volume 45 - Issue 3 - p 481–489
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31827563ba

Purpose The aim of this study was to examine the associations of multiple, objectively measured parameters of physical activity and sedentary behavior with metabolic syndrome (MetS) and its individual components.

Methods Physical activity was measured in 370 Flemish adults (age = 41.7 ± 9.8 yr; mean ± SD) for 7 d using a SenseWear Armband. MetS was defined according to the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III guidelines. Logistic regressions examined the associations between the subcomponents of physical activity and sedentary behavior and the odds of having MetS or individual risk factors.

Results MetS was observed in 10.2% of men and 5.2% of women. Adults who spent ≥60 min·d−1 in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) were 68%–81% less likely to have abdominal obesity, hypertriglyceridemia, and low HDL cholesterol compared with those with <30 min·d−1 MVPA, independent of sex, age, education, smoking, alcohol consumption, and total sedentary time. The total sedentary time and the average duration of a sedentary bout were positively associated with MetS and most of its individual risk factors (odds ratio [OR] = 1.07–1.47). Breaks in sedentary time were inversely associated with abdominal obesity (OR = 0.71, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.55–0.91) and hypertriglyceridemia (OR = 0.79, 95% CI 0.63–0.99). These associations were no longer significant after adjustment for MVPA (and total sedentary time). Light physical activity was not associated with MetS or any of the individual risk factors. Time spent in moderate, vigorous, total MVPA, and bouts of MVPA were associated with a reduced likelihood of abdominal obesity (OR = <0.01–0.48), hypertriglyceridemia (OR = 0.14–0.63), and low HDL cholesterol (OR = 0.02–0.43), independent of potential confounders and total sedentary time.

Conclusions Engagement in MVPA may be essential to prevent MetS and individual risk factors.

1Department of Kinesiology, KU Leuven, BELGIUM; 2Research Foundation Flanders, Flanders, BELGIUM; and 3Department of Movement and Sport Sciences, Ghent University, Ghent, BELGIUM

Address for correspondence: Tineke Scheers, Department of Kinesiology, KU Leuven, Tervuursevest 101, 3001 Leuven, Belgium; E-mail:

Submitted for publication April 2012.

Accepted for publication September 2012.

© 2013 American College of Sports Medicine