Correlates of domain-specific sedentary time of adults in the Netherlands

3 June 2019
Femke van Nassau

Relatively little is known about how total sedentary time is accumulated in different domains and if correlates of sedentary time differ across domains. Time use surveys present a unique opportunity to study sedentary time in more detail. This study aimed to use the 2006 Dutch time use survey to 1) describe the (sedentary) time use of Dutch adults, and 2) explore socio-demographic and health-related correlates of total (non-occupational) and domain-specific sedentary time.

The Dutch time use survey randomly selected participants from a population-representative research sample of Dutch households. Participants reported daily activities on seven consecutive days using a time use diary and socio-demographic and health-related characteristics during telephone interviews. All reported activities were coded for activity domain (i.e. education; household; leisure; occupation; sleep; transport; voluntary work) and activity intensity (i.e. sedentary; light intensity physical activity; moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity). As occupational activities were not specified in sufficient detail, the intensity of these activities was unknown. We described the time spent in different domains and intensities, and assessed the socio-demographic and health-related correlates of high levels of total (non-occupational), household, leisure, and transport sedentary time using logistic regression analyses.

The final dataset consisted of 1614 adult (18+) participants. On average, participants spent 8.0 h (61.1%) of their daily waking non-occupational time on sedentary activities. More than 87% of leisure time was spent sedentary. Men, participants aged 18-34 and 65+ years, full-time employed participants and obese participants had higher levels of total non-occupational sedentary time. The correlates of household, leisure and transport sedentary time differed by domain.

This study reports high levels of total non-occupational sitting time of Dutch adults. The large proportion of sedentary leisure activities might indicate the potential of strategies aiming to reduce leisure sedentary time. The difference in correlates across sedentary behaviour domains demonstrates the importance of targeting these domains differently in interventions and policies.

Reference: Loyen A, Chau JY, Jelsma JGM, van Nassau F, van der Ploeg HP. Prevalence and correlates of domain-specific sedentary time of adults in the Netherlands: findings from the 2006 Dutch time use survey. BMC Public Health. 2019 Jun 3;19(Suppl 2):538. doi: 10.1186/s12889-019-6764-7.