Feasibility of reducing older adults' sedentary time

Am J Prev Med. 2011 Aug;41(2):174-7. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2011.03.020.


Background: Sedentary time (too much sitting, as distinct from lack of exercise) is a prevalent risk to health among older adults.

Purpose: Examine the feasibility of an intervention to reduce and break up sedentary time in older adults.

Design: A pre-experimental (pre-post) study.

Setting/participants: A total of 59 participants aged ≥60 years from Brisbane, Australia. Data were collected between May and December 2009 and analyzed in 2010.

Intervention: One face-to-face goal-setting consultation and one individually tailored mailing providing feedback on accelerometer-derived sedentary time, grounded in social cognitive theory and behavioral choice theory.

Main outcome measures: Program reach and retention; changes in accelerometer-derived sedentary time, light-intensity physical activity (LIPA), and moderate-to-vigorous-intensity physical activity (MVPA) (assessed over 6 days in pre- and post-intervention periods); and participant satisfaction.

Results: Reach was 87.5% of those screened and eligible; retention was 100%. From pre- to post-intervention, participants decreased their sedentary time [-3.2% (95% CI= -4.18, -2.14), p<0.001], increased their breaks in sedentary time per day [4.0 (1.48, 6.52), p=0.003], and increased their LIPA [2.2% (1.40, 2.99), p<0.001] and MVPA [1.0% (0.55, 1.38), p<0.001]. Significantly greater reductions in sedentary time were made after 10:00am, with significantly greater number of breaks occurring between 7:00pm and 9:00pm. Participants reported high satisfaction with the program (median 9/10).

Conclusions: Sedentary time in older adults can be reduced following a brief intervention based on goal setting and behavioral self-monitoring.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods
  • Exercise*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Time Factors