Diurnal patterns of sedentary time in rheumatoid arthritis: associations with cardiovascular disease risk

Sally A M Fenton, Nikos Ntoumanis, Joan L Duda, George S Metsios, Peter C Rouse, Chen-An Yu, George D Kitas, Jet J C S Veldhuijzen van Zanten

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OBJECTIVES: Research demonstrates that sedentary behaviour may contribute towards cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). This study explored diurnal patterns of sedentary time and physical activity (PA) in RA and examined associations with long-term CVD risk.

METHODS: 97 RA patients wore an accelerometer for 7 days to assess sedentary time, light-intensity and moderate-to-vigorous-intensity PA. Estimated 10-year CVD risk was determined via QRISK score. Hourly estimates of sedentary time and PA (min/hour) were computed for valid-wear hours (ie, valid-wear = 60 min/hour of activity data, ≥3 days). Hourly data were averaged across time periods to represent morning (08:00-11:59), afternoon (12:00-17:59) and evening (18:00-22:59) behaviour. Participants providing data for ≥2 complete time periods/day (eg, morning/evening, or morning/afternoon) were used in the main analysis (n = 41). Mixed linear modelling explored the associations between 10-year CVD risk and within-person (time: morning, afternoon, evening) changes in sedentary time and PA.

RESULTS: Sedentary time was higher, and light-intensity and moderate-to-vigorous-intensity PA lower in the evening, compared to morning and afternoon. Significant interactions revealed individuals with higher CVD risk were more sedentary and did less light-intensity PA during the afternoon and evening. Findings remained significant after adjustment for disease duration, functional ability and erythrocyte sedimentation rate.

CONCLUSION: Results suggest that the evening time period may offer a significant window of opportunity for interventions to reduce sedentary behaviour in RA and contribute to associated improvements in CVD risk. Due to inverse patterns of engagement, replacing sedentary time with light-intensity PA may offer an effective approach for intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere001216
JournalRMD Open
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2020

Bibliographical note

© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2020. Re-use permitted under CC BY. Published by BMJ.


  • Cardiovascular disease
  • arthritis
  • psychology
  • rehabilitation
  • rheumatoid
  • rheumatoid arthritis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology


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