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Diabetes Metab. 2012 Nov;38(5):428-35. doi: 10.1016/j.diabet.2012.04.005. Epub 2012 Jun 19.

Sedentary behaviour, physical activity and dietary patterns are independently associated with the metabolic syndrome.

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Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, EA 3430, University of Strasbourg, Faculty of Medicine, 4, rue Kirschleger, 67085 Strasbourg cedex, France.



This study assessed the independent relationships of daily sitting time, levels of work and leisure-time physical activity (PA), and dietary patterns of patients with the metabolic syndrome (MetS).


This population-based, cross-sectional study included 3090 French subjects aged 35-64 years. Daily time spent sitting and PA levels were assessed by an interview-administered questionnaire, while dietary patterns were identified using the factorial method of principal component analysis. Independent associations of lifestyle behaviours with the MetS were assessed by multivariable logistic-regression models adjusted for age, centre, educational level, smoking status, total calorie intake, heart rate and menopausal status.


The multivariable-adjusted ORs [95% CI] for MetS in the fourth quartile of sitting time and leisure-time PA were 1.65 [1.11-2.44] (P for trend < 0.01) and 0.58 [0.40-0.84] (P for trend < 0.001), respectively, for men, and 2.35 [1.41-3.92] (P for trend < 0.01) and 0.52 [0.33-0.82] (P for trend < 0.01), respectively, for women. Work PA was not favourably related to the MetS, particularly in women. An 'energy-dense' dietary pattern was independently associated with higher ORs for the MetS in both genders. However, accounting for body mass index (BMI) weakened the associations, which otherwise remained significant for leisure-time PA and the energy-dense dietary pattern in men, suggesting that BMI may be a potential mediator of these relationships.


This study demonstrated a dose-response association between sitting time, an energy-dense dietary pattern and the MetS, together with a graded inverse association between leisure-time PA and the MetS. In addition to the usual advice for PA and healthy eating, limiting the amount of time spent sitting should also be promoted through public-health initiatives.

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