, Volume 53, Issue 3, pp 710–721 | Cite as

Leisure-time exercise, physical activity during work and commuting, and risk of metabolic syndrome

  • Keisuke KuwaharaEmail author
  • Toru Honda
  • Tohru Nakagawa
  • Shuichiro Yamamoto
  • Shamima Akter
  • Takeshi Hayashi
  • Tetsuya Mizoue
Original Article


Data are limited regarding effect of intensity of leisure-time physical activity on metabolic syndrome. Furthermore, no prospective data are available regarding effect of occupational and commuting physical activity on metabolic syndrome. We compared metabolic syndrome risk by intensity level of leisure-time exercise and by occupational and commuting physical activity in Japanese workers. We followed 22,383 participants, aged 30–64 years, without metabolic syndrome until 2014 March (maximum, 5 years of follow-up). Physical activity was self-reported. Metabolic syndrome was defined by the Joint Statement criteria. We used Cox regression models to estimate the hazard ratios (HRs) and 95 % confidence intervals (CIs) of metabolic syndrome. During a mean follow-up of 4.1 years, 5361 workers developed metabolic syndrome. After adjustment for covariates, compared with engaging in no exercise, the HRs (95 % CIs) for <7.5, 7.5 to <16.5, and ≥16.5 metabolic equivalent hours of exercise per week were 0.99 (0.90, 1.08), 0.99 (0.90, 1.10), and 0.95 (0.83, 1.08), respectively, among individuals engaging in moderate-intensity exercise alone; 0.93 (0.75, 1.14), 0.81 (0.64, 1.02), and 0.84 (0.66, 1.06), among individuals engaging in vigorous-intensity exercise alone; and 0.90 (0.70, 1.17), 0.74 (0.62, 0.89), and 0.81 (0.69, 0.96) among individuals engaging in the two intensities. Higher occupational physical activity was weakly but significantly associated with lower risk of metabolic syndrome. Walking to and from work was not associated with metabolic syndrome. Vigorous-intensity exercise alone or vigorous-intensity combined with moderate-intensity exercise and worksite intervention for physical activity may help prevent metabolic syndrome for Japanese workers.


Cohort studies Intensity of exercise Dose of exercise Domain of physical activity Prevention Asians 



The authors thank Maki Konishi (National Center for Global Health and Medicine) for data management, and Rika Osawa (National Center for Global Health and Medicine) for administrative support.


The present study was funded by a Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists (B) (25871166) from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, and a fund from the Industrial Health Foundation.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare there is no conflict of interest. Honda, T., Nakagawa, T., Yamamoto, S., and Hayashi, T. are occupational physician in the participating company.

Supplementary material

12020_2016_911_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (22 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 22 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Keisuke Kuwahara
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Toru Honda
    • 3
  • Tohru Nakagawa
    • 3
  • Shuichiro Yamamoto
    • 3
  • Shamima Akter
    • 1
  • Takeshi Hayashi
    • 3
  • Tetsuya Mizoue
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Epidemiology and Prevention, Center for Clinical SciencesNational Center for Global Health and MedicineTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Teikyo University Graduate School of Public HealthTokyoJapan
  3. 3.Hitachi Health Care CenterHitachi, Ltd.HitachiJapan

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