Measurement of adults' sedentary time in population-based studies

Am J Prev Med. 2011 Aug;41(2):216-27. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2011.05.005.


Sedentary time (too much sitting) increasingly is being recognized as a distinct health risk behavior. This paper reviews the reliability and validity of self-reported and device-based sedentary time measures and provides recommendations for their use in population-based studies. The focus is on instruments that have been used in free-living, population-based research in adults. Data from the 2003-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey are utilized to compare the descriptive epidemiology of sedentary time that arises from the use of different sedentary time measures. A key recommendation from this review is that, wherever possible, population-based monitoring of sedentary time should incorporate both self-reported measures (to capture important domain- and behavior-specific sedentary time information) and device-based measures (to measure both total sedentary time and patterns of sedentary time accumulation).

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Epidemiologic Methods*
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Time Factors