Assessment of sedentary behavior with the International Physical Activity Questionnaire

J Phys Act Health. 2008;5 Suppl 1:S30-44. doi: 10.1123/jpah.5.s1.s30.


Purpose: This study explored definitions of sedentary behavior and examined the relationship between sitting time and physical inactivity using the sitting items from the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ).

Methods: Participants (N = 289, 44.6% male, mean age = 35.93) from 3 countries completed self-administered long- and short-IPAQ sitting items. Participants wore accelerometers; were classified as inactive (no leisure-time activity), insufficiently active, or meeting recommendations; and were classified into tertiles of sitting behavior.

Results: Reliability of sitting time was acceptable for men and women. Correlations between total sitting and accelerometer counts/min <100 were significant for both long (r = .33) and short (r = .34) forms. There was no agreement between tertiles of sitting and the inactivity category (kappa = .02, P = .68).

Conclusion: Sedentary behavior should be explicitly measured in population surveillance and research instead of being defined by lack of physical activity.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Data Collection / methods
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*