Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

Living Edition
| Editors: Marc Gellman

Sedentary Time

  • Ciara M. O’Brien
  • Joan L. Duda
  • George D. Kitas
  • Sally A. M. FentonEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6439-6_101912-1


Sedentary Time (vs. Sedentary Behavior)

Sedentary behavior has been defined as “any waking behavior characterized by an energy expenditure ≤1.5 metabolic equivalents (METs), while in a sitting, reclining or lying posture” (Tremblay et al. 2017). Common sedentary behaviors include watching television, reading a book, working at a computer, and driving motorized transport.

Sedentary time refers to the sum of all sedentary behaviors that are undertaken throughout the course of a day. For example, time spent traveling to work by car, sitting working at an office desk, and watching television during leisure time all represent different sedentary behaviors but accumulate to contribute toward “total sedentary time.” However, within the field of sedentary behavior research, the terms sedentary time and sedentary behavior are often used interchangeably, and incorrectly.


Measurement of Sedentary Time

Methods employed to assess sedentary time include both self-report...

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References and Further Reading

  1. Biddle, S. J., Bennie, J. A., Bauman, A. E., Chau, J. Y., Dunstan, D., Owen, N., et al. (2016). Too much sitting and all-cause mortality: Is there a causal link? BMC Public Health, 16, 635.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  2. Biswas, A., Oh, P. I., Faulkner, G. E., Bajaj, R. R., Silver, M. A., Mitchell, M. S., et al. (2015). Sedentary time and its association with risk for disease incidence, mortality, and hospitalization in adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Annals of Internal Medicine, 162(2), 123–132.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Collings, P. J., Wijndaele, K., Corder, K., Westgate, K., Ridgway, C. L., Dunn, V., et al. (2014). Levels and patterns of objectively-measured physical activity volume and intensity distribution in UK adolescents: The ROOTS study. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 11(23), 1–12.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Freedson, P. S., Pober, D., & Janz, K. F. (2005). Calibration of accelerometer output for children. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 37(11 Suppl), S523–S530.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Harvey, J. A., Chastin, S. F., & Skelton, D. A. (2015). How sedentary are older people? A systematic review of the amount of sedentary behaviour. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, 23(3), 471–487.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Healy, G. N., Matthews, C. E., Dunstan, D. W., Winkler, E. A., & Owen, N. (2011). Sedentary time and cardio-metabolic biomarkers in US adults: NHANES 2003-06. European Heart Journal, 32(5), 590–597.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  7. Hoare, E., Milton, K., Foster, C., & Allender, S. (2016). The associations between sedentary behaviour and mental health among adolescents: A systematic review. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 13(1), 108.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Tremblay, M. S., Aubert, S., Barnes, J. D., Saunders, T. J., Carson, V., Latimer-Cheung, A. E., et al. (2017). Sedentary behaviour research network (SBRN) – Terminology consensus project process and outcome. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 14(75), 1–17.Google Scholar
  9. Troiano, R. P., Berrigan, D., Dodd, K. W., Mâsse, L. C., Tilert, T., & McDowell, M. (2008). Physical activity in the United States measured by accelerometer. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 40(1), 181–188.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ciara M. O’Brien
    • 1
  • Joan L. Duda
    • 1
  • George D. Kitas
    • 2
  • Sally A. M. Fenton
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation SciencesUniversity of BirminghamBirminghamUK
  2. 2.Department of RheumatologyRussells Hall Hospital, Dudley Group NHS Foundation TrustDudleyUK

Section editors and affiliations

  • Anna C. Phillips
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Sport, Exercise & Rehabilitation SciencesUniversity of BirminghamBirminghamUK