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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

1
Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UNITED KINGDOM.
2
School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UNITED KINGDOM.
3
Obesity and Endocrinology Research Group, Clinical Sciences Centre, University Hospital Aintree, Liverpool, UNITED KINGDOM.
4
Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Science, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, UNITED KINGDOM.
5
Wolfson Centre for Personalised Medicine, Institute of Translational Medicine, Liverpool, UNITED KINGDOM.
6
Department of Psychological Sciences, Institute of Psychology Health and Society, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UNITED KINGDOM.
7
Appetite Control and Energy Balance Research, School of Psychology, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Leeds, Leeds, UNITED KINGDOM.
8
Liverpool Magnetic Resonance Imaging Centre (LiMRIC), University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UNITED KINGDOM.
9
School Sport, Exercise Health Sciences, National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine-East Midlands, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UNITED KINGDOM.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION/PURPOSE:

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.

METHODS:

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.

RESULTS:

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.

CONCLUSIONS:

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.

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