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Sedentary Behavior in People with and without a Chronic Health Condition: How Much, What and When?

1 School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Flinders University, Adelaide, SA, Australia
2 Alliance for Research in Exercise, Nutrition and Activity (ARENA), Sansom Institute for Health Research, University of South Australia, Adelaide, SA, Australia
3 Respiratory Clinical Research Unit, Repatriation General Hospital, Adelaide, SA, Australia
4 School of Health Sciences, The University of Newcastle, Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Special Issues: Advances in sedentary behavior research and translation

Purpose: To describe sedentary behaviors (duration, bouts and context) in people with and without a chronic health condition. Methods: Design: Secondary analysis of two cross-sectional studies. Participants: People with stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (n = 24, male:female 18:6) and their spousal carers (n = 24, 6:18); stroke survivors (n = 24, 16:8) and
age- and sex-matched healthy adults (n = 19, 11:8). Level of physiological impairment was measured with post-bronchodilator spirometry (FEV1 %predicted) for people with COPD, and walking speed for people with stroke. Outcomes: Participants were monitored over seven days (triaxial accelerometer, Sensewear armband) to obtain objective data on daily sedentary time, and prolonged sedentary bouts (≥ 30 min). During the monitoring period, a 24-hour use of time recall instrument was administered by telephone interview to explore the context of sedentary activities (e.g. television, computer or reading). Sedentary time was quantified using accelerometry and recall data, and group differences were explored. Linear regression examined associations between physiological impairment and sedentary time. Results: Participant groups were similar in terms of age (COPD 75 ± 8, carers 70 ± 11, stroke 69 ± 10, healthy 73 ± 7 years) and body mass index (COPD 28 ± 4, carers 27 ± 4, stroke 31 ± 4, healthy 26 ± 4 kg.m–2). The healthy group had the lowest sedentary time (45% of waking hours), followed by the carer (54%), stroke (60%) and COPD (62%) groups (p < 0.0001). Level of physiological impairment was an independent predictor of waking sedentary time (p = 0.001). Conclusions: People with a chronic health condition spent more time sedentary than those without a chronic condition, and there were small but clear differences between groups in the types of activities undertaken during sedentary periods. The study findings may aid in the design of targeted interventions to decrease sedentary time in people with chronic health conditions.
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