Send to

Choose Destination
Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2019 Jun;51(6):1169-1177. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001901.

Physical Activity and Sedentary Time: Association with Metabolic Health and Liver Fat.

Author information

Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UNITED KINGDOM.
School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UNITED KINGDOM.
Obesity and Endocrinology Research Group, Clinical Sciences Centre, University Hospital Aintree, Liverpool, UNITED KINGDOM.
Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Science, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, UNITED KINGDOM.
Wolfson Centre for Personalised Medicine, Institute of Translational Medicine, Liverpool, UNITED KINGDOM.
Department of Psychological Sciences, Institute of Psychology Health and Society, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UNITED KINGDOM.
Appetite Control and Energy Balance Research, School of Psychology, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Leeds, Leeds, UNITED KINGDOM.
Liverpool Magnetic Resonance Imaging Centre (LiMRIC), University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UNITED KINGDOM.
School Sport, Exercise Health Sciences, National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine-East Midlands, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UNITED KINGDOM.



To investigate whether (a) lower levels of daily physical activity (PA) and greater sedentary time accounted for contrasting metabolic phenotypes (higher liver fat/presence of metabolic syndrome [METS+] vs lower liver fat/absence of metabolic syndrome [METS-]) in individuals of similar body mass index and (b) the association of sedentary time on metabolic health and liver fat.


Ninety-eight habitually active participants (53 female, 45 male; age, 39 ± 13 yr; body mass index 26.9 ± 5.1 kg·m), underwent assessments of PA (SenseWear armband; wear time ~98%), cardiorespiratory fitness (V˙O2 peak), body composition (magnetic resonance imaging and magnetic resonance spectroscopy) and multiorgan insulin sensitivity (oral glucose tolerance test). We undertook a) cross-sectional analysis comparing four groups: nonobese or obese, with and without metabolic syndrome (METS+ vs METS-) and b) univariate and multivariate regression for sedentary time and other levels of PA in relation to liver fat.


Light, moderate, and vigorous PA did not account for differences in metabolic health between individuals, whether nonobese or obese, although METS+ individuals were more sedentary, with a higher number, and prolonged bouts (~1-2 h). Overall, sedentary time, average daily METS and V˙O2 peak were each independently associated with liver fat percentage. Each additional hour of daily sedentary time was associated with a 1.15% (95% confidence interval, 1.14%-1.50%) higher liver fat content.


Greater sedentary time, independent of other levels of PA, is associated with being metabolically unhealthy; even in habitually active people, lesser sedentary time, and higher cardiorespiratory fitness and average daily METS is associated with lower liver fat.

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wolters Kluwer Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center