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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Interrelationships among sedentary time, sleep duration, and the metabolic syndrome in adults

Donna Saleh1 and Ian Janssen12*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Public Health Sciences, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada

2 School of Kinesiology and Health Studies, Queen’s University, Kingston ON K7L 3N6, Canada

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BMC Public Health 2014, 14:666  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-666

Published: 30 June 2014



The study objectives were to examine whether: 1) sedentary time is associated with sleep duration, 2) sedentary time predicts the metabolic syndrome (MetS) independent of sleep duration and vice versa, and 3) sedentary time and sleep duration have an interactive effect on the MetS.


This cross-sectional study is based on the 2003–2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. A sample of 1371 adults (aged ≥20 years) were studied. Average daily sedentary time and sleep duration were determined via 7-day accelerometry. Screen time was determined via questionnaire. The MetS was determined using standard criteria. Analysis of variance was used to examine relationships among sedentary time and screen time with sleep duration. Logistic regression was used to examine associations between sedentary time, screen time, and sleep duration with the MetS after controlling for several confounders.


Sedentary time and screen time did not vary across sleep duration quartiles. Participants in the highest quartile of sedentary time were more likely to have the MetS than participants in the lowest quartile (odds ratio = 1.60, 95% CI:1.05-2.45). The odds of the MetS was higher in participants in the highest screen time tertile as compared to the lowest tertile (odds ratio = 1.67, 95% confidence interval:1.13-2.48). Sleep duration was not independently related to the MetS. There were no significant sedentary time X sleep duration interactions on the MetS.


Highly sedentary individuals and individuals with a high screen time are more likely to have the MetS.