Sedentary time assessed by actigraphy and mortality: The Rotterdam Study

Prev Med. 2017 Feb;95:59-65. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2016.11.021. Epub 2016 Dec 6.


Research suggests that sedentary behavior is a risk factor for mortality. However, most studies rely on questionnaires, which are prone to reporting error. We examined the association between sedentary time assessed by actigraphy and mortality among 1839 participants, aged 45-98years, from the prospective population-based Rotterdam Study, enrolled between 2004 and 2007. Participants wore an actigraph around the wrist for seven days. Sedentary time was evaluated continuously, per 1h/day increase, and categorically in three groups (<8, 8-11, ≥11h/day). The lowest category was used as reference. Mortality risks were examined using Cox proportional hazard models, adjusted for confounders and biological risk factors. We examined the association between sedentary behavior and mortality over and beyond other activity measures (including physical activity (PA) and activities of daily living (ADL)) in a final model. During 11years of follow-up (median: 7.5years, interquartile range: 6.6-8.3years), 212 participants (11.5%) died. In the multivariable model, the hazard ratio (HR) and 95% confidence interval (95% CI) per 1 more hour/day sedentary time was 1.09 (1.00, 1.18). The HR (95% CI) after adjustment for PA and ADL was 1.04 (0.96, 1.13). Participants sedentary for ≥11h/day had a higher mortality risk (HR: 1.80, 95% CI: 1.14, 2.84) than those sedentary <8h/day, in the multivariable model. After adjusting for PA and ADL, this association was clearly attenuated (HR: 1.50, 95% CI: 0.93, 2.41). In conclusion, our study suggests that sedentary behavior is a risk factor for mortality. Further investigation is needed to examine whether this association is distinct from the effect of other measures of activity.

Keywords: Elderly; Mortality; Rotterdam Study; Sedentary time.

MeSH terms

  • Actigraphy / methods*
  • Aged
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality*
  • Netherlands
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Time Factors