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  • Author: Sebastien F.M. Chastin x
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Juliet A. Harvey, Sebastien F.M. Chastin and Dawn A. Skelton

Background/objectives:

Sedentary behavior (SB), defined as sitting (nonexercising), reclining, and lying down (posture), or by low energy expenditure, is a public health risk independent to physical activity. The objective of this systematic literature review was to synthesize the available evidence on amount of SB reported by and measured in older adults.

Data source:

Studies published between 1981 and 2014 were identified from electronic databases and manual searching. Large-scale population studies/surveys reporting the amount of SB (objective/subjective) in older adults aged ≥ 60 years of age were included. Appraisal and synthesis was completed using MOOSE guidelines.

Results:

349,698 adults aged ≥ 60 within 22 studies (10 countries and 1 EU-wide) were included. Objective measurement of SB shows that older adults spend an average of 9.4 hr a day sedentary, equating to 65–80% of their waking day. Self-report of SB is lower, with average weighted self-reports being 5.3 hr daily. Within specific domains of SB, older adults report 3.3 hr in leisure sitting time and 3.3 hr watching TV. There is an association with more time spent in SB as age advances and a trend for older men to spend more time in SB than women.

Conclusion/implications:

Time spent sedentary ranges from 5.3–9.4 hr per waking day in older adults. With recent studies suggesting a link between SB, health, and well-being, independent of physical activity, this is an area important for successful aging.

Limitations:

Different methodologies of measurement and different reporting methods of SB made synthesis difficult. Estimated SB time from self-report is half of that measured objectively; suggesting that most self-report surveys of SB will vastly underestimate the actual time spent in SB.

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Manon L. Dontje, Calum F. Leask, Juliet Harvey, Dawn A. Skelton and Sebastien F.M. Chastin

Older adults are recommended to reduce their sedentary time to promote healthy ageing. To develop effective interventions identifying when, why, and how older adults are able to change their sitting habits is important. The aim of this mixed-method study was to improve our understanding of reasons for (breaking) sedentary behavior in older adults. Thirty older adults (74.0 [±5.3] years old, 73% women) were asked about their believed reasons for (breaking) sedentary behavior, and about their actual reasons when looking at a personal storyboard with objective records of activPAL monitor data and time-lapse camera pictures showing all their periods of sedentary time in a day. The most often mentioned believed reason for remaining sedentary was television/radio (mentioned by 48.3%), while eating/drinking was most often mentioned as actual reason (96.6%). Only 17.2% believed that food/tea preparation was a reason to break up sitting, while this was an actual reason for 82.8% of the study sample. Results of this study show that there is a discrepancy between believed and actual reasons for (breaking) sedentary behavior. These findings suggest developing interventions utilizing the actual reasons for breaking sedentary behavior to reduce sedentary time in older adults.

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Thorlene Egerton, Jorunn L. Helbostad, Dorthe Stensvold and Sebastien F.M. Chastin

Fatigue has been associated with reductions in daily activity of older people. Summary measures of daily physical activity provide limited understanding of how fatigue affects physical activity behavior. This study examined the hour-by-hour energy expenditure estimated from accelerometry data to provide insight into physical activity behaviors of older people experiencing fatigue. Fatigued participants were matched to ‘not fatigued’ participants by age, sex, and BMI. Each group consisted of 86 people with a mean age 73.8 years (SD 2.0), BMI 26.5 kg⋅m–2 (SD 3.9) and 61% female. The phase-space plot, constructed to express rate of change of average vertical axis counts per hour as a time series, showed fatigued participants deviated from the not fatigued participants during the morning period, when hour-by-hour activity was increasing. Older people who feel fatigued have a different morning activity pattern, which appears to lead to the lower overall levels of physical activity.

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Philippa M. Dall, Dawn A. Skelton, Manon L. Dontje, Elaine H. Coulter, Sally Stewart, Simon R. Cox, Richard J. Shaw, Iva Čukić, Claire F. Fitzsimons, Carolyn A. Greig, Malcolm H. Granat, Geoff Der, Ian J. Deary, Sebastien F.M. Chastin and On behalf of the Seniors USP Team

The Seniors USP (Understanding Sedentary Patterns) study measured sedentary behavior (activPAL3, 9-day wear) in older adults. The measurement protocol had three key characteristics: enabling 24-hour wear (monitor location, waterproofing), minimizing data loss (reducing monitor failure, staff training, communication), and quality assurance (removal by researcher, confidence about wear). Two monitors were not returned; 91% (n = 700) of returned monitors had seven valid days of data. Sources of data loss included monitor failure (n = 11), exclusion after quality assurance (n = 5), early removal for skin irritation (n = 8), or procedural errors (n = 10). Objective measurement of physical activity and sedentary behavior in large studies requires decisional trade-offs between data quantity (collecting representative data) and utility (derived outcomes that reflect actual behavior).