Using an individualised consultation and activPAL™ feedback to reduce sedentary time in older Scottish adults: results of a feasibility and pilot study

Prev Med. 2013 Nov;57(5):718-20. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2013.07.017. Epub 2013 Jul 25.


Objective: Sedentary behaviours have been linked to poor health, independent of physical activity levels. The objective of this study was to explore an individualised intervention strategy aimed at reducing sedentary behaviours in older Scottish adults.

Methods: This feasibility and pilot study was a pre-experimental (one group pretest-posttest) study design. Participants were enrolled into the study in January-March 2012 and data analysis was completed April-October 2012. The study was based in Glasgow, Scotland. Participants received an individualised consultation targeting sedentary behaviour incorporating feedback from an activPAL activity monitor. Outcome measures were objectively (activPAL) and subjectively measured (Sedentary Behaviour Questionnaire) sedentary time.

Results: Twenty four participants received the intervention. Objectively measured total time spent sitting/lying was reduced by 24 min/day (p=0.042), a reduction of 2.2%. Total time spent in stepping activities, such as walking increased by 13 min/day (p=0.044). Self-report data suggested participants achieved behaviour change by reducing time spent watching television and/or using motorised transport.

Conclusion: Interventions to reduce sedentary behaviours in older people are urgently needed. The results of this feasibility and pilot study suggest a consultation approach may help individuals reduce time spent in sedentary behaviours. A larger, controlled trial is warranted with a diverse sample to increase generalisability.

Keywords: Aged; Exercise; Intervention studies; Sedentary lifestyle.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Feedback, Psychological*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Promotion
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Independent Living
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Care Planning*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Referral and Consultation*
  • Scotland
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Walking