Background and objectives: Prolonged sitting time has negative consequences on health, although the population is not well aware of these harmful effects. We explored opinions expressed by primary care patients diagnosed as overweight or moderately obese concerning their time spent sitting, willingness to change, and barriers, facilitators, goals and expectations related to limiting this behaviour.
Methods: A descriptive-interpretive qualitative study was carried out at three healthcare centres in Barcelona, Spain, and included 23 patients with overweight or moderate obesity, aged 25 to 65 years, who reported sitting for at least 6 hours a day. Exclusion criteria were inability to sit down or stand up from a chair without help and language barriers that precluded interview participation. Ten in-depth, semi-structured interviews (5 group, 5 individual) were audio recorded from January to July 2012 and transcribed. The interview script included questions about time spent sitting, willingness to change, barriers and facilitators, and the prospect of assistance from primary healthcare professionals. An analysis of thematic content was made using ATLAS.Ti and triangulation of analysts.
Results: The most frequent sedentary activities were computer use, watching television, and motorized journeys. There was a lack of awareness of the amount of time spent sitting and its negative consequences on health. Barriers to reducing sedentary time included work and family routines, lack of time and willpower, age and sociocultural limitations. Facilitators identified were sociocultural change, free time and active work, and family surroundings. Participants recognized the abilities of health professionals to provide help and advice, and reported a preference for patient-centred or group interventions.
Conclusions: Findings from this study have implications for reducing sedentary behaviour. Patient insights were used to design an intervention to reduce sitting time within the frame of the SEDESTACTIV clinical trial.