Prevalence of sedentary behavior in older adults: a systematic review

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2013 Dec 2;10(12):6645-61. doi: 10.3390/ijerph10126645.


Sedentary behavior is a cluster of behaviors adopted in a sitting or lying posture where little energy is being expended. Sedentary behavior is a risk factor for health independent to inactivity. Currently, there are no published systematic reviews on the prevalence of sedentary behavior objectively measured in, or subjectively reported by, older adults. The aim of this systematic review was to collect and analyze published literature relating to reported prevalence of sedentary behavior, written in English, on human adults, where subjects aged 60 years and over were represented in the study. 23 reports covered data from 18 surveys sourced from seven countries. It was noted that sedentary behavior is defined in different ways by each survey. The majority of surveys included used self-report as a measurement of sedentary behavior. Objective measurements were also captured with the use of body worn accelerometers. Whether measurements are subjective or objective, the majority of older adults are sedentary. Almost 60% of older adult's reported sitting for more than 4 h per day, 65% sit in front of a screen for more than 3 h daily and over 55% report watching more than 2 h of TV. However, when measured objectively in a small survey, it was found that 67% of the older population were sedentary for more than 8.5 h daily.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Self Report