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Metabolism. 2010 Sep;59(9):1268-75. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2009.11.020. Epub 2010 Jan 13.

Sedentary behavior, physical activity, and concentrations of insulin among US adults.

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  • 1Division of Adult and Community Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30341, USA.


Time spent watching television has been linked to obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes, all conditions characterized to some degree by hyperinsulinemia and insulin resistance. However, limited evidence relates screen time (watching television or using a computer) directly to concentrations of insulin. We examined the cross-sectional associations between time spent watching television or using a computer, physical activity, and serum concentrations of insulin using data from 2800 participants aged at least 20 years of the 2003-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The amount of time spent watching television and using a computer as well as physical activity was self-reported. The unadjusted geometric mean concentration of insulin increased from 6.2 microU/mL among participants who did not watch television to 10.0 microU/mL among those who watched television for 5 or more hours per day (P = .001). After adjustment for age, sex, race or ethnicity, educational status, concentration of cotinine, alcohol intake, physical activity, waist circumference, and body mass index using multiple linear regression analysis, the log-transformed concentrations of insulin were significantly and positively associated with time spent watching television (P = < .001). Reported time spent using a computer was significantly associated with log-transformed concentrations of insulin before but not after accounting for waist circumference and body mass index. Leisure-time physical activity but not transportation or household physical activity was significantly and inversely associated with log-transformed concentrations of insulin. Sedentary behavior, particularly the amount of time spent watching television, may be an important modifiable determinant of concentrations of insulin.

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