Aim: To examine the associations of physical activity and screen time, a proxy for sedentary behaviour, with fasting and post-load glucose levels in Singaporean women enrolled in a multi-ethnic Asian preconception study.
Methods: Moderate and vigorous physical activity and screen time (television and other electronic devices) were self-reported by women enrolled in the S-PRESTO cohort. Fasting, 30-min and 120-min glucose levels before and during a 75-g oral glucose tolerance test were measured. Associations of physical activity and screen time with glucose levels were analysed using multivariable linear marginal regression.
Results: A total of 946 women aged 31.4±3.7 years were examined, of whom 72% were of Chinese, 15.5% were of Malay, 9.3% were of Indian and 3.2% were of mixed ethnicity. A total of 32% of women reported being active, 36% watched television ≥2 h/day and 26% used electronic devices ≥3 h/day. In adjusted models, vigorous, but not moderate, physical activity was associated with lower overall glucose levels, and was associated more strongly with post-challenge than fasting glucose levels. Compared to women not engaging in vigorous physical activity, those engaging in physical activity ≥75 min/week had lower mean fasting [-0.14 (95% CI -0.28, -0.01) mmol/l], 30-min [0.35 (95% CI -0.68, -0.02) mmol/l] and 120-min [-0.53 (95% CI -0.16, -0.90) mmol/l] glucose levels (overall P value=0.05). We found no associations of screen time with glucose levels.
Conclusions: Independently of the time spent in non-vigorous physical activity and using screens, engaging in vigorous physical activity may be a modifiable factor to improve glucose regulation in women of Asian ethnicity who are attempting to conceive.