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J Am Geriatr Soc. 2011 May;59(5):788-96. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2011.03390.x.

Associations between television viewing time and overall sitting time with the metabolic syndrome in older men and women: the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle study.

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Cancer Prevention Research Centre, School of Population Health, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.



To examine associations between self-reported television (TV) viewing time and overall sitting time with the metabolic syndrome and its components.




Population-based sample of older men and women living in Australia.


One thousand nine hundred fifty-eight participants from the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle (AusDiab) study (aged ≥ 60, mean age 69, 54% women).


Self-reported television viewing time and overall sitting time were collected using an interviewer-administered questionnaire. The metabolic syndrome was defined according to the revised International Diabetes Federation criteria.


Compared with those in the lowest quartile, the odds ratios (ORs) of the metabolic syndrome in the highest quartile of television viewing time were 1.42 (95% confidence interval (CI)=0.93-2.15) for men and 1.42 (95% CI=1.01-2.01) for women and in the highest quartile of overall sitting time were 1.57 (95% CI=1.02-2.41) for men and 1.56 (95% CI=1.09-2.24) for women. Television viewing time was associated with lower high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels and glucose intolerance in women. Overall sitting time was detrimentally associated with greater risk of high triglyceride levels in men and women, abdominal obesity in women, and low HDL-C levels in men. All models were adjusted for age, education, physical activity, self-rated health, employment, diet, smoking, and alcohol intake and for hormone replacement therapy and estrogen use in women.


For older adults, high levels of sedentary behavior were associated with greater prevalence of the metabolic syndrome; reducing prolonged overall sitting time may be a feasible way to improve metabolic health.

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