Does frequency or duration of standing breaks drive changes in glycemic response? A randomized crossover trial

Meynard John L. Toledo, Barbara E. Ainsworth, Glenn A. Gaesser, Steven P. Hooker, Mark A. Pereira, Matthew P. Buman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Intervention strategies to break up sitting have mostly focused on the modality (i.e., comparing different intensities and/or type of activities) and less on how frequency and duration of breaks affect health outcomes. This study compared the efficacy of different strategies to break up sitting time [i.e., high frequency, low duration standing breaks (HFLD) and low frequency, high duration standing breaks (LFHD)] in reducing postprandial glucose. Eleven sedentary and prediabetic adults (mean ± SD age = 46.8 ± 10.6 years; 73% female) participated in a cross-over trial. There were six blocks that represented all potential combinations (ordering) of the study conditions and participants were randomly assigned to a block. Each participant underwent three 7.5-h laboratory visits (1 week apart) where they engaged in either continuous sitting, HFLD, or LFHD condition while performing their usual office-related tasks. Standardized breakfast and lunch meals were provided. Postprandial mean glucose, area under the curve (AUC), and incremental area under the curve (iAUC) were evaluated using mixed models. Compared with LFHD condition, the HFLD standing breaks condition significantly lowered mean glucose by −9.94 (−14.13, −5.74) mg/dL·h after lunch, and by −6.23 (−9.93, −2.52) mg/dL·h, for the total lab visit time. Overall, the results favor frequently interrupting sitting with standing breaks to improve glycemic control in individuals with prediabetes. Further studies are needed with larger sample sizes to confirm the results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalScandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports
StateAccepted/In press - 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • continuous glucose monitoring
  • patterns of breaks
  • sedentary breaks
  • sitting interventions
  • standing breaks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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