Effects of 1 day of inactivity on insulin action in healthy men and women: interaction with energy intake

Published:November 11, 2010DOI:


      Prolonged periods of limited muscle activity can reduce insulin action. Acute changes in low muscle activity (ie, sitting) have not been assessed. In addition, unless energy intake is reduced during sitting to match low expenditure, the concurrent energy surplus may explain lower insulin action. The objective of the study was to evaluate the acute effect of sitting, with and without energy surplus, on insulin action. Fourteen young (26.1 ± 4.5 years, mean ± SD), nonobese (23.7% ± 7.1% fat), fit (peak oxygen consumption = 49.1 ± 3.3 mL·kg−1·min−1) men (n = 7) and women (n = 7) completed three 24-hour conditions: (1) an active, no-sitting condition (high energy expenditure of 2944 ± 124 kcal with energy intake matched to expenditure) = NO-SIT; (2) low energy expenditure (sitting) of 2195 ± 121 kcal with no reduction in energy intake (energy surplus) = SIT; and (3) sitting with energy intake reduced to 2139 ± 118 kcal to match low expenditure (energy balance) = SIT-BAL. Insulin action was measured the following morning during a continuous infusion of [6,6-2H]-glucose. Data were analyzed using linear mixed-effects models with planned contrasts. Compared with NO-SIT, insulin action, defined as whole-body rate of glucose disappearance normalized to mean plasma insulin, was reduced by 39% in SIT (P < .001) and by 18% in SIT-BAL (P = .07). Insulin action was higher in SIT-BAL compared with SIT (P = .04). One day of sitting considerably reduced insulin action; this effect was minimized, but not prevented, when energy intake was reduced to match expenditure. Strategies to limit daily sitting may reduce metabolic disease risk.
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