Background Although certain types of sedentary behaviour have been linked to metabolic risk, prospective studies describing the links between sitting with incident diabetes are scarce and often do not account for baseline adiposity. We investigate the associations between context-specific sitting and incident diabetes in a cohort of mid-aged to older British civil servants.
Methods Using data from the Whitehall II study (n=4811), Cox proportional hazards models (adjusted for age, sex, ethnicity, employment grade, smoking, alcohol intake, fruit and vegetable consumption, self-rated health, physical functioning, walking and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, and body mass index (BMI)) were fitted to examine associations between total sitting and context–specific sitting time (work, television (TV), non-TV leisure time sitting at home) at phase 5 (1997–1999) and fasting glucose-defined incident diabetes up to 2011.
Results Total sitting (HR of the top compared with the bottom group: 1.26; 95% CI 1.00 to 1.62; p=0.01) and TV sitting (1.33; 95% CI 1.03 to 1.88; p=0.05) showed associations with incident diabetes; once BMI was included in the model these associations were attenuated for both total sitting (1.19; 95% CI 0.92 to 1.55; p=0.22) and TV sitting (1.31; 95% CI 0.96 to 1.76; p=0.14).
Conclusion We found limited evidence linking sitting and incident diabetes over 13 years in this occupational cohort of civil servants.
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Contributors ES: conceived the idea, designed the study, drafted the manuscript, provided initial interpretation of the data and carried out multiple manuscript revisions. RMP: contributed to data acquisition, contributed to study design, did and updated the statistical analysis several times, assisted with data acquisition and drafted parts of the manuscript. EJB: contributed to data acquisition and study design, critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content and results interpretation. ARB: contributed to data acquisition, critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content and results interpretation. AEB: critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content and results interpretation. SJHB: critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content and results interpretation. MH: contributed to data acquisition and contributed to the study design, critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content and results interpretation.
Funding The Whitehall II study is supported by grants from the Medical Research Council (G0902037), British Heart Foundation (RG/07/008/23674), Stroke Association, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (5RO1 HL036310) and National Institute on Aging (5RO1AG13196 and 5RO1AG034454). A National Health and Medical Research Council (Australia) Senior Research Fellowship and a National Institute for Health Research Career Development Fellowship (UK) supported the first author of this article during different stages of this work.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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