Sedentary behavior is very common in older adults and a risk factor for mortality. Understanding determinants of sedentary behavior may help in defining strategies aimed to reduce the time spent sedentary. The degree of difference in sedentary time attributable to varying temperatures has not been yet estimated in older men.
Men aged 71 to 91 years participating in an established UK population-based cohort study were invited to wear an Actigraph GT3X accelerometer for 1 week in 2010–12. Outcome was sedentary time (<1.5 Metabolic Equivalent of Task) in minutes per day. Associations between daily outdoor maximum temperature and accelerometer-measured sedentary time were estimated using multilevel models.
43% (1361/3137) of invited men participated in the study and provided adequate data. Men spent on average 615 minutes in sedentary time per day (72% of the total accelerometer-wear time). After adjusting for covariates, men spent 26 minutes more per day (P < .001) in sedentary time when temperatures were in the lowest (–3.5; 9.2°C) versus highest quintile (19.1; 29.5°C).
Sedentary time in older adults is highest at lowest temperatures, typically recorded in winter. Findings are relevant for guidelines: interventions may consider targeting older men in winter providing recommendations for minimizing sedentariness on daily basis.