Article Text

other Versions

Download PDFPDF
Sitting behaviour is not associated with incident diabetes over 13 years: the Whitehall II cohort study
  1. Emmanuel Stamatakis1,2,
  2. Richard M Pulsford3,
  3. Eric J Brunner2,
  4. Annie R Britton2,
  5. Adrian E Bauman1,
  6. Stuart JH Biddle4,
  7. Melvyn Hillsdon3
  1. 1 Charles Perkins Centre, School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
  2. 2 Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London, UK
  3. 3 Sport and Health Sciences, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK
  4. 4 Institute of Sport, Exercise & Active Living (ISEAL), Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Associate Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis, Charles Perkins Centre, School of Public Health, University of Sydney, 6th floor West, The Hub, Charles Perkins Centre, Building D17, University of Sydney, Camperdown, NSW 2006 Australia; emmanuel.stamatakis{at}


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.

  • Diabetes
  • Sedentary
  • Physical activity
  • Epidemiology
  • Sitting time

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.