A Randomised Controlled Trial to Reduce Sedentary Time in Young Adults at Risk of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: Project STAND (Sedentary Time ANd Diabetes)

AIMS: Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), a serious and prevalent chronic disease, is traditionally associated with older age. However, due to the rising rates of obesity and sedentary lifestyles, it is increasingly being diagnosed in the younger population. Sedentary (sitting) behaviour has been shown to be associated with greater risk of cardio-metabolic health outcomes, including T2DM. Little is known about effective interventions to reduce sedentary behaviour in younger adults at risk of T2DM. We aimed to investigate, through a randomised controlled trial (RCT) design, whether a group-based structured education workshop focused on sitting reduction, with self-monitoring, reduced sitting time. METHODS: Adults aged 18-40 years who were either overweight (with an additional risk factor for T2DM) or obese were recruited for the Sedentary Time ANd Diabetes (STAND) RCT. The intervention programme comprised of a 3-hour group-based structured education workshop, use of a self-monitoring tool, and follow-up motivational phone call. Data were collected at three time points: baseline, 3 and 12 months after baseline. The primary outcome measure was accelerometer-assessed sedentary behaviour after 12 months. Secondary outcomes included other objective (activPAL) and self-reported measures of sedentary behaviour and physical activity, and biochemical, anthropometric, and psycho-social variables. RESULTS: 187 individuals (69% female; mean age 33 years; mean BMI 35 kg/m2) were randomised to intervention and control groups. 12 month data, when analysed using intention-to-treat analysis (ITT) and per-protocol analyses, showed no significant difference in the primary outcome variable, nor in the majority of the secondary outcome measures. CONCLUSIONS: A structured education intervention designed to reduce sitting in young adults at risk of T2DM was not successful in changing behaviour at 12 months. Lack of change may be due to the brief nature of such an intervention and lack of focus on environmental change. Moreover, some participants reported a focus on physical activity rather than reductions in sitting per se. The habitual nature of sedentary behaviour means that behaviour change is challenging. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Controlled-Trials.com ISRCTN08434554.