An intervention to decrease sedentary behaviour in young adults at risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus

Lead Research Organisation: Loughborough University
Department Name: Sch of Sport Exercise & Health Sciences


Excessive periods of time spent sitting may be a risk factor for diabetes. Current lifestyles encourage large amounts of sitting (sedentary behaviour) through increasing car use, computers, and appealing screen-based home entertainment systems. Methods to help change such behaviours are now needed, particularly for those with a high risk of developing a chronic disease, such as diabetes. We propose to decrease sedentary behaviour in a multi-ethnic group of young adults at risk of diabetes through an educational intervention (attending a workshop and having prompts). If successful, this could have significant public health benefits given the widespread nature of sedentary behaviour.

Technical Summary

Sedentary behaviour is ubiquitous and recent evidence suggests that excessive bouts of time spent sitting may be a risk factor for Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM). However, young adults at risk of T2DM are a neglected yet growing group. In addition to the study of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (PA), there is now a greater recognition of the potential importance of studying sedentary behaviours. However, little is known about whether we can change sedentary behaviour in young adults at risk of T2DM or whether an intervention will produce meaningful change in behavioural and biological markers of T2DM. Consequently, our key research proposes a proof-of-concept trial with key research questions being:
1. Can a structured education programme decrease sedentary behaviour in young adults at risk of T2DM?
2. Does this programme produce favourable changes in key behavioural and biological markers of T2DM risk?

We propose a structured educational intervention, with prompts, designed to decrease sedentary behaviour in young adults aged 18-30y. Participants will be recruited from those with a family history of T2DM or cardiovascular disease or a BMI at or over 25 (23 for south Asians). Participants will be randomised to a control or intervention (I) arm. I participants are given an education programme aimed at decreasing sedentary behaviour, based on the PREPARE programme, a group-based, 3-hr educational intervention with a theory-driven curriculum aimed at behaviour change. PREPARE will be modified to allow for the targeting of a reduction in sedentary behaviour. Prompts and behavioural self-monitoring will be provided by innovative new Bluetooth technology (?MiLife?). The control group will receive an information leaflet focusing on key illness perceptions surrounding IGT and the importance of increasing physical activity and reducing sedentary behaviour.

The primary outcome measure is sedentary behaviour (time below 100 counts/min assessed by accelerometry) with secondary outcome measures including physical activity, various biomarkers (e.g., fasting glucose, TNF-alpha, IL-6), anthropometry, and psychological measures. The trial is powered for N = 89 per arm.

This will be the first UK study to address sedentary behaviour change in this population. The trial will inform behaviour change programmes for this at-risk group and provide a major new direction of behaviour change alongside the more conventional use of encouraging increases in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.
Description Research Council for Norway Public Health Programme reviews
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in advisory committee
Description BHF Project Grant
Amount £180,000 (GBP)
Organisation British Heart Foundation (BHF) 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2013 
End 12/2015
Description LLHW
Amount £853,099 (GBP)
Funding ID MR/K025090/1 
Organisation Medical Research Council (MRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2013 
End 10/2016
Description NIHR Biomedical Research Unit
Amount £4,500,000 (GBP)
Organisation National Institute for Health Research 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2012 
End 03/2017
Description The NIHR Leicester-Loughborough Diet, Lifestyle and Physical Activity Biomedical Research Unit 
Organisation University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We lead both BRU themes
Collaborator Contribution They Direct the Centre and provide essential medical and related research expertise.
Impact None yet. Too early.
Start Year 2012