Moderate Activity and Fitness, Not Sedentary Time, Are Independently Associated with Cardio-Metabolic Risk in U.S. Adults Aged 18-49

J.H.P.M. van der Velde*, H.H.C.M. Savelberg, N.C. Schaper, A. Koster

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This cross-sectional study is one of the first to examine and compare the independent associations of objectively measured sedentary time, moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and fitness with cardio-metabolic risk factors. We studied 543 men and women (aged 18-49 years) from the NHANES 2003-2004 survey. Sedentary time and MVPA were measured by accelerometry. Fitness was assessed with a submaximal treadmill test. Cardio-metabolic risk factors included: waist circumference (WC), BMI, blood pressure, fasting glucose, HDL- and non HDL cholesterol, triglycerides (TG), and C-reactive protein (CRP). Sedentary time, MVPA and fitness were used as predictors for the cardio-metabolic outcomes in a multiple regression analysis. Standardized regression coefficients were computed. Results show that sedentary time was associated with HDL-cholesterol (beta = -0.080, p = 0.05) and TG (beta = 0.080, p = 0.03). These results became non-significant after adjustment for MVPA and fitness. MVPA was associated with WC (beta = -0.226), BMI (beta = -0.239), TG (beta = -0.108) and HDL-cholesterol (beta = 0.144) (all p < 0.05). These results remained significant after adjustment for sedentary time and fitness. Fitness was associated with WC (beta = -0.287), BMI (beta = -0.266), systolic blood pressure (beta = -0.159), TG (beta = -0.092), and CRP (beta = -0.130) (all p < 0.05). After adjustment for sedentary time and MVPA these results remained significant. These differences in relative importance of sedentary time, MVPA and fitness on cardio-metabolic-risk are important in the design of prevention programs. In this population, the strength of the associations between MVPA and fitness with cardio-metabolic markers appeared to be similar; both MVPA and fitness showed independent associations with cardio-metabolic risk factors. In contrast, sedentary time showed no independent associations with cardio-metabolic risk after correction for fitness and MVPA.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2330-2343
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015

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