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Association between light exposure and metabolic syndrome in a rural Brazilian town

Oster, Henrik, Benedito-Silva, Ana Amélia, Evans, Simon, Viana Mendes, Juliana, Castro, Juliana, Gonçalves, Bruno da Silva B., Ruiz, Francieli S., Beijamini, Felipe, Evangelista, Fabiana S., Vallada, Homero , Krieger, Jose Eduardo, von Schantz, Malcolm, Pereira, Alexandre C. and Pedrazzoli, Mario (2020) Association between light exposure and metabolic syndrome in a rural Brazilian town PLOS ONE, 15 (9), e0238772.

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Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a complex condition comprising a ‘clustering’ of components representing cardiometabolic risk factors for heart disease and diabetes; its prevalence rate is high and consequences serious. Evidence suggests that light exposure patterns and misalignment of circadian rhythms might contribute to MetS etiology by impacting energy metabolism and glucose regulation.


We hypothesised that individuals with MetS would show disrupted circadian and sleep parameters alongside differences in light exposure profiles. We investigated this using data from a cohort study in Brazil.


Data from 103 individuals from the Baependi Heart Cohort Study aged between 50 and 70 were analysed. Motor activity and light exposure were measured using wrist-worn actigraphy devices. Cardiometabolic data were used to calculate the number of MetS components present in each participant, and participants grouped as MetS/non-MetS according to standard guidelines. Between-group comparisons were made for the actigraphy measures; additionally, correlation analyses were conducted.


Motor activity and circadian profiles showed no differences between groups. However, the MetS group presented lower light exposure during the day and higher light exposure at night. Correlation analyses, including all participants, showed that greater daytime light exposure and greater light exposure difference between day and night were associated with reduced MetS risk (a lower number of MetS components). Also, the light exposure difference between day and night correlated with body mass index across all participants.


The observed results suggest a direct association between light exposure and MetS which appears to not be attributable to disruptions in circadian activity rhythm nor to sleep parameters. This link between light exposure patterns and MetS risk could inform possible prevention strategies.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Biosciences and Medicine
Authors :
Oster, Henrik
Benedito-Silva, Ana Amélia
Viana Mendes, Juliana
Castro, Juliana
Gonçalves, Bruno da Silva B.
Ruiz, Francieli S.
Beijamini, Felipe
Evangelista, Fabiana S.
Vallada, Homero
Krieger, Jose Eduardo
von Schantz,
Pereira, Alexandre C.
Pedrazzoli, Mario
Date : 18 September 2020
Funders : Institute of Advanced Studies, University of Surrey
DOI : 10.1371/journal.pone.0238772
Copyright Disclaimer : © 2020 Benedito-Silva et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Depositing User : Clive Harris
Date Deposited : 05 Oct 2020 16:17
Last Modified : 05 Oct 2020 16:17

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