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Breaking up prolonged sitting with standing or walking attenuates the postprandial metabolic response in post-menopausal women: a randomised acute study

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posted on 12.11.2015, 15:03 by Joseph Henson, Melanie J. Davies, Danielle H. Bodicoat, Charlotte L. Edwardson, Jason M.R. Gill, David Stensel, Keith Tolfrey, David W. Dunstan, Kamlesh Khunti, Thomas E. Yates
Objective To determine whether breaking up prolonged sitting with short bouts of standing or walking improves post-prandial markers of cardio-metabolic health in women at high risk of type 2 diabetes. Research Design and Methods Twenty-two overweight/obese, dysglycaemic, postmenopausal women (mean age ± SD: 66.8±4.6 years) each participated in two of the following treatments; prolonged, unbroken sitting (7.5 hours) or prolonged sitting broken up with either standing or walking at a self-perceived light-intensity (for 5 minutes every 30 minutes). Both allocation and treatment order were randomised. The incremental area under the curves (iAUC) for glucose, insulin, non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA) and triglycerides were calculated for each treatment condition (mean ± SEM). The following day, all participants underwent the 7.5 hours sitting protocol. Results Compared to a prolonged bout of sitting (iAUC 5.3±0.8mmol/L•h), both standing (3.5±0.8) and walking (3.8±0.7) significantly reduced the glucose iAUC (both p<0.05). When compared with prolonged sitting (548.2±71.8mU/L•h), insulin was also reduced for both activity conditions (standing: 437.2±73.5; walking: 347.9±78.7; both p<0.05). Both standing (-1.0±0.2mmol/L•h) and walking (-0.8±0.2) attenuated the suppression of the NEFA compared with prolonged sitting (-1.5±0.2); both p<0.05. There was no significant effect on triglyceride iAUC. The effects on glucose (standing and walking) and insulin (walking only) persisted into the following day. Conclusions Breaking up prolonged sitting with 5-minute bouts of standing or walking at a self-perceived light-intensity reduced postprandial glucose, insulin and NEFA responses in women at high risk of type 2 diabetes. This simple, behavioural approach could inform future public health interventions aimed at improving the metabolic profile of post-menopausal, dysglycaemic women.


The research was supported by the NIHR Leicester-Loughborough Diet, Lifestyle and Physical Activity Biomedical Research Unit which is a partnership between University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Loughborough University and the University of Leicester; The National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care - Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland (NIHR CLAHRC – LNR) and East Midlands (NIHR CLAHRC EM) and the University of Leicester Clinical Trials Unit.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

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Diabetes Care








HENSON, J. ...et al., 2016. Breaking up prolonged sitting with standing or walking attenuates the postprandial metabolic response in post-menopausal women: a randomised acute study. Diabetes Care, 39(1), pp.130-138.


© American Diabetes Association


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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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This is an author-created, uncopyedited electronic version of an article accepted for publication in Diabetes. The American Diabetes Association (ADA), publisher of Diabetes, is not responsible for any errors or omissions in this version of the manuscript or any version derived from it by third parties. The definitive publisher-authenticated version will be available in a future issue of Diabetes in print and online at http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org.