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OBJECTIVES: Physical activity is negatively associated with arterial stiffness. However, the relationship between sedentary behaviour and arterial stiffness is poorly understood. In this study, we aimed to investigate the association of sedentary behaviour with arterial stiffness among young adults. DESIGN: Cross-sectional. SETTING: 34 study clinics across Australia during 2004-2006. PARTICIPANTS: 2328 participants (49.4% male) aged 26-36 years who were followed up from a nationally representative sample of Australian schoolchildren in 1985. MEASUREMENTS: Arterial stiffness was measured by carotid ultrasound. Sitting time per weekday and weekend day, and physical activity were self-reported by questionnaire. Cardiorespiratory fitness was estimated as physical work capacity at a heart rate of 170 bpm. Anthropometry, blood pressure, resting heart rate and blood biochemistry were measured. Potential confounders, including strength training, education, smoking, diet, alcohol consumption and parity, were self-reported. Rank correlation was used for analysis. RESULTS: Sitting time per weekend day, but not per weekday, was correlated with arterial stiffness (males r=0.11 p<0.01, females r=0.08, p<0.05) and cardiorespiratory fitness (males r = -0.14, females r = -0.08, p<0.05), and also with fatness and resting heart rate. One additional hour of sitting per weekend day was associated with 5.6% (males p=0.046) and 8.6% (females p=0.05) higher risk of having metabolic syndrome. These associations were independent of physical activity and other potential confounders. The association of sitting time per weekend day with arterial stiffness was not mediated by resting heart rate, fatness or metabolic syndrome. CONCLUSIONS: Our study demonstrates a positive association of sitting time with arterial stiffness. The greater role of sitting time per weekend day in prediction of arterial stiffness and cardiometabolic risk than that of sitting time per weekday may be due to better reflection of discretionary sitting behaviour.

Original publication




Journal article


BMJ Open

Publication Date





EPIDEMIOLOGY, PREVENTIVE MEDICINE, Adipose Tissue, Adult, Australia, Blood Pressure, Carotid Arteries, Cross-Sectional Studies, Exercise, Female, Health Status, Heart Rate, Humans, Male, Metabolic Syndrome, Motor Activity, Physical Fitness, Posture, Sedentary Lifestyle, Self Report, Sex Factors, Ultrasonography, Vascular Stiffness, Young Adult