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Factors Influencing Sedentary Behaviour in Older Adults: An Ecological Approach

Linna Tam-Seto Patricia Weir Shilpa Dogra

*Corresponding author: Shilpa Dogra shilpa.dogra@uoit.ca


Sedentary behaviour is negatively associated with several health outcomes and is particularly problematic among older adults. Knowledge translation tools and public health promotion strategies are needed; however, little evidence is available to inform framing of such tools or development of intervention programs. The aim of the present study was to use data on the perceptions of sedentary time and the programs or supports older adults identify as important for reducing their sedentary time, to inform knowledge translation strategies targeting this population. Focus groups were conducted with four groups of older adults (n = 26) at local seniors' centres (Ontario, Canada). Participants were 74 ± 8.5 years old and were engaging in both sedentary and physical activities in a social environment. Using the Ecological Model for sedentary time in adults, we categorized data into leisure time, household, transport and occupation domains. Intrinsic and extrinsic factors that worked to either discourage or promote sedentary behaviour were identified. Drawing on both groupings of data, results were synthesized to inform public health strategies on appropriate messaging and better uptake of programming and guidelines. For example, successful programs developed on the topic will need to include a social component and a mentally stimulating component, as these were identified as critical for enjoyment and motivation. It was clear from this analysis that sedentary time reduction strategies will need to consider the different domains in which older adults accumulate sedentary time.

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