Correlates of sitting time in Dutch and Belgian adults

17 October 2017
Femke van Nassau

As the detrimental health effects of sedentary behaviour are well established, insight into the individual and environmental factors that influence adults’ sedentary behaviour is needed. Most studies to date rely on self-reported measures of sedentary time. Therefore, the aim of the current study was to examine individual and environmental correlates of objectively measured sedentary time in Dutch and Belgian adults. Between March and August 2014, Belgian (n = 133) and Dutch (n = 223) adults, recruited as sub-sample of the SPOTLIGHT survey, wore an ActiGraph accelerometer to provide objectively measured sedentary and moderate to vigorous physical activity time. Participants completed a questionnaire assessing sociodemographic (country of residence, age, gender and educational level), lifestyle (sleep, smoking, sugar-containing beverage consumption, alcohol intake), health (body mass index, self-rated health), work (employment status and type of work), happiness, physical environmental (owning a car, number of screens, socioeconomic status and residential density) and social environmental factors (social network, social cohesion). Univariate and multivariable regression analyses showed that Belgian participants had a lower odds of being sedentary for at least 9 hours per day compared to Dutch participants. Women, older participants and those meeting the WHO recommendation for physical activity were also less likely to sit for 9 hours or more per day. Participants doing (heavy) manual work or being in education, homemaker, unemployed had lower odds of being sedentary for at least 9 hours per day compared to participants with a sitting job. Those with a higher self-reported social network also had lower odds for sedentary time. No associations between physical and other social environmental characteristics and sedentary time were found. Our findings add to the growing evidence of factors associated with prolonged sedentary time in adults. These findings may be used to inform the development of strategies and interventions aimed at reducing sedentary time, and to identify high risk groups.

Reference: van Nassau F, Mackenbach JD, Compernolle S, de Bourdeaudhuij I, Lakerveld J, van der Ploeg HP. Individual and environmental correlates of objectively measured sedentary time in Dutch and Belgian adults. PLoS One. 2017 Oct 17;12(10):e0186538. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0186538. eCollection 2017.

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