Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Holmes, Megan E.

Committee Member

Chander, Harish

Committee Member

Norris, Keith

Committee Member

Thorpe, Roland J. Jr.

Committee Member

Vickers, Brad

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

Complete embargo for 2 years

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access



Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Kinesiology


Cardiometabolic diseases are the leading causes of worldwide mortality, of which metabolic syndrome is a major contributor. Increased sedentary behavior and decreased physical activity have been independently associated with increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome and subsequent maladies. Likewise, the development of more contemporary methodologies of measuring metabolic syndrome allow for a more nuanced examination of risk. However, these new methodologies lack extensive utilization among the physical activity epidemiology literature. The scarcity of research incorporating the independent relations between sedentary behavior, physical activity, and contemporary methodologies to measure metabolic syndrome warrants additional investigation. This dissertation aimed to further discern these relations using three different cohort data sets. Data from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES), the Jackson Heart Study (JHS), and the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study were utilized to further elucidate the relations between sedentary behavior, physical activity, and metabolic syndrome in three separate studies. The studies observed the majority of waking hours were spent engaged in sedentary behaviors; although, each cohort also appeared to meet the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Metabolic syndrome positive individuals from NHANES engaged in similar amounts of physical activity as the general population. While the diversity of physical activity type was less, the physical activities engaged in were typically at the same prevalence among metabolic syndrome positive and the general populations. Sedentary behaviors were associated with increased metabolic syndrome severity score, but this relation was attenuated when moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and cardiorespiratory fitness were added to the model for both JHS and CARDIA studies. Decreasing sedentary time and with an equivalent amount of physical activity, of any intensity, is beneficial for cardiometabolic health. Understanding which physical activities subpopulations engage in can be paired with culturally competent interventions to increase physical activity engagement. Exceeding the minimum requirements for the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans can produce increases in cardiorespiratory fitness, which have an independent positive impact on cardiometabolic health. Strategies should aim to increase physical activity among sedentary individuals, while limiting sedentary time among those physically active.

Available for download on Monday, May 15, 2023