Time spent in physical activity and sedentary behaviors on the working day: the American time use survey

J Occup Environ Med. 2011 Dec;53(12):1382-7. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31823c1402.


Objective: To determine time spent on the working day in sleep, work, sedentary behaviors, and light-, moderate-, and vigorous-intensity behaviors by occupation intensity.

Methods: Data came from 30,758 working respondents to the 2003 to 2009 American Time Use Survey. Mean ± SEM time spent in work, sedentary behaviors, light-, moderate-, and vigorous-intensity activities, and sleep were computed by occupations classified as sedentary, light, moderate, and vigorous intensity.

Results: On average, approximately 32% of the 24-hour day was spent sleeping and approximately 31% was spent at work. Time spent in sedentary behaviors outside of work was higher, and light-intensity time was lower, with higher levels of intensity-defined occupation.

Conclusions: Those employed in sedentary occupations were sedentary for approximately 11 hours per day, leaving little time to achieve recommended levels of physical activity for overall health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Asian / statistics & numerical data
  • Black People / statistics & numerical data
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity*
  • Prevalence
  • Sedentary Behavior / ethnology*
  • Sleep
  • United States / epidemiology
  • White People / statistics & numerical data
  • Workplace / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult