Aims/hypothesisSedentary (sitting) behaviours are ubiquitous in modern society. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to examine the association of sedentary time with diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular and all-cause mortality.MethodsMedline, Embase and the Cochrane Library databases were searched for terms related to sedentary time and health outcomes. Cross-sectional and prospective studies were included. RR/HR and 95% CIs were extracted by two independent reviewers. Data were adjusted for baseline event rate and pooled using a random-effects model. Bayesian predictive effects and intervals were calculated to indicate the variance in outcomes that would be expected if new studies were conducted in the future.ResultsEighteen studies (16 prospective, two cross-sectional) were included, with 794,577 participants. Fifteen of these studies were moderate to high quality. The greatest sedentary time compared with the lowest was associated with a 112% increase in the RR of diabetes (RR 2.12; 95% credible interval [CrI] 1.61, 2.78), a 147% increase in the RR of cardiovascular events (RR 2.47; 95% CI 1.44, 4.24), a 90% increase in the risk of cardiovascular mortality (HR 1.90; 95% CrI 1.36, 2.66) and a 49% increase in the risk of all-cause mortality (HR 1.49; 95% CrI 1.14, 2.03). The predictive effects and intervals were only significant for diabetes.Conclusions/interpretationSedentary time is associated with an increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular and all-cause mortality; the strength of the association is most consistent for diabetes.