Associations of breaks in sedentary time with abdominal obesity in Portuguese older adults

Age (Dordr). 2015;37(2):23. doi: 10.1007/s11357-015-9760-6.


In older adults, sedentary time is positively associated with obesity. The manner in which it is accumulated, i.e., the number of breaks in sedentary time, might be also important. We examined the cross-sectional associations of breaks in sedentary time with abdominal obesity in 301 older adults (111 men and 190 women) aged 75.0 ± 6.8 years. Sedentary time (counts min(-1) < 100) and physical activity were objectively measured by accelerometry, worn during waking hours for at least three consecutive days. A break was defined as an interruption (≥ 100 counts min(-1) < 2020) in sedentary time while performing light intensity physical activities. Sedentary time was expressed as the number of daily breaks in sedentary time or hourly breaks in sedentary time. Abdominal obesity was defined by waist circumference (men >102 cm; women >88 cm). Using binary logistic regression analyses, the odds for abdominal obesity decreased 7 % for each additional hourly break in sedentary time in women (OR = 0.93, 95 % CI: 0.87-1.00), but not men, independently of total sedentary time and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. The odds for abdominal obesity were 3.21 times higher (p = 0.039) for women in quartile 1 (<225 breaks day(-1)) of daily breaks in sedentary time compared to those in quartile 4 (>353 breaks day(-1)) of daily breaks in sedentary time.These findings indicate that older women who interrupt their sedentary time more frequently are less likely to present abdominal obesity. Public health recommendations regarding breaking-up sedentary time complementary to those for physical activity are likely to be relevant.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Employment / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Household Work / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity, Abdominal / epidemiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Time Factors
  • Waist Circumference