November 03, 2017
2 min read

Interrupted sitting improves glucose metabolism in children with overweight, obesity

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WASHINGTON — Children with overweight or obesity who interrupt continuous sitting with short bouts of moderate-intensity physical activity every 30 minutes have improved acute glucose metabolism compared with those who continually sit, according to a speaker here.

“In evaluating the usual pattern of daily activity in today’s modern age, it’s easily notable that the majority of your typical individuals, be it an adult or a child, spend the majority of their time sedentary,” Miranda M. Broadney, MD, MPH, a clinical investigator with a focus on pediatric obesity and type 2 diabetes at the NIH, said during her presentation. “Furthermore, this sedentary time is believed to be an independent health risk factor, and it’s gaining more traction.”

Broadney and colleagues evaluated 38 children (54% boys; 42% white; mean age, 9.6 years) with overweight or obesity (mean BMI z score, 1.8; mean fasting glucose, 90 mg/dL) to determine whether interrupting sitting improves glucose metabolism or affects cognitive function or dietary intake.

Participants underwent a 3-hour experimental oral glucose tolerance test trials following each of two study conditions, in random order: continuous sitting and sitting interrupted by 30 minutes of moderate-intensity walking every 30 minutes. At baseline and every 30 minutes, researchers measured insulin, C-peptide and glucose levels; attention and working memory were assessed before and after the tests.

Compared with participants in the continuous sitting group, the interrupted sitting group had lower insulin (P = .007) and C-peptide (P = .03) levels, but no difference was observed for glucose level. Insulin area under the curve (AUC) was 21% lower and C-peptide AUC was 18% lower with interrupted sitting compared with continuous sitting.

No differences were observed in cognitive functions, affect or anxiety parameters, or energy intake.

“Briefly interrupting sedentary activity in youth with short bouts of moderate-intensity activity every 30 minutes successfully improves acute glucose metabolism without affecting cognition or energy intake in children with overweight and obesity,” Broadney said. “Because we’re really interested in this being a translatable intervention, and perhaps being able to implement it at the public health level, perhaps in the school systems, the next steps are really determining if the intervention is successful for a sustained amount of time.” – by Amber Cox


Broadney MM. T-ES-0001. Presented at: ObesityWeek 2017; Oct. 29-Nov. 2, 2017; Washington, D.C.

Disclosure: Broadney reports no relevant financial disclosures.