Nonworksite Interventions to Reduce Sedentary Behavior Among Adults: A Systematic Review

Transl J Am Coll Sports Med. 2017 Jun 15;2(12):68-78. doi: 10.1249/TJX.0000000000000036.


Purpose: Sedentary behavior has been identified as a major health risk. While interventions to reduce time spent sedentary have become increasingly prevalent, the vast majority of this work in adults has been focused on workplace sedentary behavior, and often pairs sedentary reduction interventions with increasing physical activity. As research designed to specifically decrease sedentary time that is not limited to the workplace becomes available, identifying strategies and approaches, along with feasibility and efficacy of these interventions, is warranted.

Methods: Electronic databases were searched for sedentary interventions with eligibility criteria including: (a) interventions designed to explicitly reduce sedentary behavior that were not limited to the workplace, (b) outcomes specific to sedentary behavior, (c) adults aged at least 18 years, and (d) written in English.

Results: A total of 767 full-text manuscripts were identified, with thirteen studies meeting all eligibility criteria. While intervention characteristics and methodological quality varied greatly among studies, ten of the thirteen studies observed a significant reduction in objectively measured sitting time post-intervention. In those studies that collected participant feasibility/acceptability data, all reported that the intervention was viewed as "favorable to very favorable," would use again, and that participant burden was quite low, suggesting that these interventions were feasible.

Conclusion: Sedentary behavior interventions not limited to the workplace appear to be largely efficacious. While results varied with respect to the magnitude of the decrease in time spent sedentary, they are encouraging. However, due to the small body of evidence and the variability of study designs, our ability to make overarching statements regarding "best practices" at this time is limited. Well-controlled trials of longer duration with larger samples, using theoretically-based interventions with consistent prescriptions for limiting sedentary time are needed.

Keywords: adults; behavior change; health promotion; sitting.