Biomarkers associated with sedentary behaviour in older adults: A systematic review

K. Wirth, J. Klenk, S. Brefka, D. Dallmeier, K. Faehling, M. Roqué i Figuls, M.A. Tully, M. Giné-Garriga, P. Caserotti, A. Salvà, D. Rothenbacher, M. Denkinger, B. Stubbs

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Pathomechanisms of sedentary behaviour (SB) are unclear. We conducted a systematic review to investigate the associations between SB and various biomarkers in older adults.

Electronic databases were searched (MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, AMED) up to July 2015 to identify studies with objective or subjective measures of SB, sample size ≥50, mean age ≥60 years and accelerometer wear time ≥3 days. Methodological quality was appraised with the CASP tool. The protocol was pre-specified (PROSPERO CRD42015023731).

12701 abstracts were retrieved, 275 full text articles further explored, from which 249 were excluded. In the final sample (26 articles) a total of 63 biomarkers were detected. Most investigated markers were: body mass index (BMI, n = 15), waist circumference (WC, n = 15), blood pressure (n = 11), triglycerides (n = 12) and high density lipoprotein (HDL, n = 15). Some inflammation markers were identified such as interleukin-6, C-reactive protein or tumor necrosis factor alpha. There was a lack of renal, muscle or bone biomarkers. Randomized controlled trials found a positive correlation for SB with BMI, neck circumference, fat mass, HbA1C, cholesterol and insulin levels, cohort studies additionally for WC, leptin, C-peptide, ApoA1 and Low density lipoprotein and a negative correlation for HDL.

Most studied biomarkers associated with SB were of cardiovascular or metabolic origin. There is a suggestion of a negative impact of SB on biomarkers but still a paucity of high quality investigations exist. Longitudinal studies with objectively measured SB are needed to further elucidate the pathophysiological pathways and possible associations of unexplored biomarkers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-111
Number of pages25
JournalAgeing Research Reviews
Early online date23 Dec 2016
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 31 May 2017


  • older adults
  • sedentary behaviour
  • biomarker


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