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Introducing the Epidemiology Council of the International Society for Physical Activity and Health

Brigid M. Lynch, Andrea Ramirez Varela, and Terry Boyle

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New MeSH for Sedentary Behavior

Brigid M. Lynch, Charles E. Matthews, Katrien Wijndaele, and on behalf of the Sedentary Behaviour Council of the International Society for Physical Activity and Health*

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Leisure-Time Physical Activity Does not Attenuate the Association Between Occupational Sedentary Behavior and Obesity: Results From Alberta’s Tomorrow Project

Joshua A. Nicholas, Geraldine Lo Siou, Brigid M. Lynch, Paula J. Robson, Christine M. Friedenreich, and Ilona Csizmadi

Background:

Sedentary behavior has been proposed as a risk factor for obesity that is distinct from physical inactivity. This study aimed to examine the association between occupational sedentary behavior and obesity, and to determine if this association is independent of leisure-time physical activity (LTPA).

Methods:

Fully employed participants enrolled between 2001 and 2008 to Alberta’s Tomorrow Project, a prospective cohort study in Alberta, Canada, were studied (n = 12,409). Associations between occupational sedentary behavior and waist circumference (WC), waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), and body mass index (BMI) were examined using multiple binary and multinomial logistic regressions.

Results:

In men, a positive association was observed between daily occupational sedentary hours and WC, WHR, BMI, and with high risk profiles that incorporated both BMI and WC (P < .01). Controlling for vigorous-intensity LTPA in all models strengthened associations between sedentary behavior and measures of obesity. In contrast, inverse associations were observed for occupational sedentary hours and WHR for women (P < .05).

Conclusions:

In fully employed men, occupational sedentary behavior was positively associated with obesity risk that was not attenuated by physical activity. In women, an increase in obesity risk was not observed with sedentary behavior. Gender differences in the health effects of sedentary behavior require further study.

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Approaches to Improve Causal Inference in Physical Activity Epidemiology

Brigid M. Lynch, Suzanne C. Dixon-Suen, Andrea Ramirez Varela, Yi Yang, Dallas R. English, Ding Ding, Paul A. Gardiner, and Terry Boyle

Background: It is not always clear whether physical activity is causally related to health outcomes, or whether the associations are induced through confounding or other biases. Randomized controlled trials of physical activity are not feasible when outcomes of interest are rare or develop over many years. Thus, we need methods to improve causal inference in observational physical activity studies. Methods: We outline a range of approaches that can improve causal inference in observational physical activity research, and also discuss the impact of measurement error on results and methods to minimize this. Results: Key concepts and methods described include directed acyclic graphs, quantitative bias analysis, Mendelian randomization, and potential outcomes approaches which include propensity scores, g methods, and causal mediation. Conclusions: We provide a brief overview of some contemporary epidemiological methods that are beginning to be used in physical activity research. Adoption of these methods will help build a stronger body of evidence for the health benefits of physical activity.

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Sedentary Behavior and Chronic Disease: Mechanisms and Future Directions

Paddy C. Dempsey, Chuck E. Matthews, S. Ghazaleh Dashti, Aiden R. Doherty, Audrey Bergouignan, Eline H. van Roekel, David W. Dunstan, Nicholas J. Wareham, Thomas E. Yates, Katrien Wijndaele, and Brigid M. Lynch

Background: Recent updates to physical activity guidelines highlight the importance of reducing sedentary time. However, at present, only general recommendations are possible (ie, “Sit less, move more”). There remains a need to investigate the strength, temporality, specificity, and dose–response nature of sedentary behavior associations with chronic disease, along with potential underlying mechanisms. Methods: Stemming from a recent research workshop organized by the Sedentary Behavior Council themed “Sedentary behaviour mechanisms—biological and behavioural pathways linking sitting to adverse health outcomes,” this paper (1) discusses existing challenges and scientific discussions within this advancing area of science, (2) highlights and discusses emerging areas of interest, and (3) points to potential future directions. Results: A brief knowledge update is provided, reflecting upon current and evolving thinking/discussions, and the rapid accumulation of new evidence linking sedentary behavior to chronic disease. Research “action points” are made at the end of each section—spanning from measurement systems and analytic methods, genetic epidemiology, causal mediation, and experimental studies to biological and behavioral determinants and mechanisms. Conclusion: A better understanding of whether and how sedentary behavior is causally related to chronic disease will allow for more meaningful conclusions in the future and assist in refining clinical and public health policies/recommendations.

Open access

Status and Trends of Physical Activity Surveillance, Policy, and Research in 164 Countries: Findings From the Global Observatory for Physical Activity—GoPA! 2015 and 2020 Surveys

Andrea Ramírez Varela, Pedro C. Hallal, Juliana Mejía Grueso, Željko Pedišić, Deborah Salvo, Anita Nguyen, Bojana Klepac, Adrian Bauman, Katja Siefken, Erica Hinckson, Adewale L. Oyeyemi, Justin Richards, Elena Daniela Salih Khidir, Shigeru Inoue, Shiho Amagasa, Alejandra Jauregui, Marcelo Cozzensa da Silva, I-Min Lee, Melody Ding, Harold W. Kohl III, Ulf Ekelund, Gregory W. Heath, Kenneth E. Powell, Charlie Foster, Aamir Raoof Memon, Abdoulaye Doumbia, Abdul Roof Rather, Abdur Razzaque, Adama Diouf, Adriano Akira Hino, Albertino Damasceno, Alem Deksisa Abebe, Alex Antonio Florindo, Alice Mannocci, Altyn Aringazina, Andrea Backović Juričan, Andrea Poffet, Andrew Decelis, Angela Carlin, Angelica Enescu, Angélica María Ochoa Avilés, Anna Kontsevaya, Annamaria Somhegyi, Anne Vuillemin, Asmaa El Hamdouchi, Asse Amangoua Théodore, Bojan Masanovic, Brigid M. Lynch, Catalina Medina, Cecilia del Campo, Chalchisa Abdeta, Changa Moreways, Chathuranga Ranasinghe, Christina Howitt, Christine Cameron, Danijel Jurakić, David Martinez-Gomez, Dawn Tladi, Debrework Tesfaye Diro, Deepti Adlakha, Dušan Mitić, Duško Bjelica, Elżbieta Biernat, Enock M. Chisati, Estelle Victoria Lambert, Ester Cerin, Eun-Young Lee, Eva-Maria Riso, Felicia Cañete Villalba, Felix Assah, Franjo Lovrić, Gerardo A. Araya-Vargas, Giuseppe La Torre, Gloria Isabel Niño Cruz, Gul Baltaci, Haleama Al Sabbah, Hanna Nalecz, Hilde Liisa Nashandi, Hyuntae Park, Inés Revuelta-Sánchez, Jackline Jema Nusurupia, Jaime Leppe Zamora, Jaroslava Kopcakova, Javier Brazo-Sayavera, Jean-Michel Oppert, Jinlei Nie, John C. Spence, John Stewart Bradley, Jorge Mota, Josef Mitáš, Junshi Chen, Kamilah S Hylton, Karel Fromel, Karen Milton, Katja Borodulin, Keita Amadou Moustapha, Kevin Martinez-Folgar, Lara Nasreddine, Lars Breum Christiansen, Laurent Malisoux, Leapetswe Malete, Lorelie C. Grepo-Jalao, Luciana Zaranza Monteiro, Lyutha K. Al Subhi, Maja Dakskobler, Majed Alnaji, Margarita Claramunt Garro, Maria Hagströmer, Marie H. Murphy, Matthew  Mclaughlin, Mercedes Rivera-Morales, Mickey Scheinowitz, Mimoza Shkodra, Monika Piątkowska, Moushumi Chaudhury, Naif Ziyad Alrashdi, Nanette Mutrie, Niamh Murphy, Norhayati Haji Ahmad, Nour A. Obeidat, Nubia Yaneth Ruiz Gómez, Nucharapon Liangruenrom, Oscar Díaz Arnesto, Oscar Flores-Flores, Oscar Incarbone, Oyun Chimeddamba, Pascal Bovet, Pedro Magalhães, Pekka Jousilahti, Piyawat Katewongsa, Rafael Alexander Leandro Gómez, Rawan Awni Shihab, Reginald Ocansey, Réka Veress, Richard Marine, Rolando Carrizales-Ramos, Saad Younis Saeed, Said El-Ashker, Samuel Green, Sandra Kasoma, Santiago Beretervide, Se-Sergio Baldew, Selby Nichols, Selina Khoo, Seyed Ali Hosseini, Shifalika Goenka, Shima Gholamalishahi, Soewarta Kosen, Sofie Compernolle, Stefan Paul Enescu, Stevo Popovic, Susan Paudel, Susana Andrade, Sylvia Titze, Tamu Davidson, Theogene Dusingizimana, Thomas E. Dorner, Tracy L. Kolbe-Alexander, Tran Thanh Huong, Vanphanom Sychareun, Vera Jarevska-Simovska, Viliami Kulikefu Puloka, Vincent Onywera, Wanda Wendel-Vos, Yannis Dionyssiotis, and Michael Pratt

Background: Physical activity (PA) surveillance, policy, and research efforts need to be periodically appraised to gain insight into national and global capacities for PA promotion. The aim of this paper was to assess the status and trends in PA surveillance, policy, and research in 164 countries. Methods: We used data from the Global Observatory for Physical Activity (GoPA!) 2015 and 2020 surveys. Comprehensive searches were performed for each country to determine the level of development of their PA surveillance, policy, and research, and the findings were verified by the GoPA! Country Contacts. Trends were analyzed based on the data available for both survey years. Results: The global 5-year progress in all 3 indicators was modest, with most countries either improving or staying at the same level. PA surveillance, policy, and research improved or remained at a high level in 48.1%, 40.6%, and 42.1% of the countries, respectively. PA surveillance, policy, and research scores decreased or remained at a low level in 8.3%, 15.8%, and 28.6% of the countries, respectively. The highest capacity for PA promotion was found in Europe, the lowest in Africa and low- and lower-middle-income countries. Although a large percentage of the world’s population benefit from at least some PA policy, surveillance, and research efforts in their countries, 49.6 million people are without PA surveillance, 629.4 million people are without PA policy, and 108.7 million live in countries without any PA research output. A total of 6.3 billion people or 88.2% of the world’s population live in countries where PA promotion capacity should be significantly improved. Conclusion: Despite PA is essential for health, there are large inequalities between countries and world regions in their capacity to promote PA. Coordinated efforts are needed to reduce the inequalities and improve the global capacity for PA promotion.