Accelerometer-measured sedentary and physical activity time and their correlates in European older adults: The SITLESS study

Maria Giné-Garriga, Oriol Sansano-Nadal, Mark Tully, Paolo Caserotti, Laura Coll-Planas, Dietrich Rothenbacher, Dhayana Dallmeier, Michael Denkinger, Jason Wilson, Carme Martín-Borràs, Mathias Skjødt, Kelly Ferri, Ana Claudia Farche, Emma McIntosh, Nicole Blackburn, Antoni Salvà Casanovas, Marta Roqué i Figuls

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Sedentary behavior (SB) and physical activity (PA) are important determinants of health in older adults. This study aimed to describe the composition of accelerometer-measured SB and PA in older adults, to explore self-reported context-specific SB, and to assess socio-demographic and functional correlates of engaging in higher levels of SB in participants of a multi-center study including four European countries.

1360 community-dwelling older adults from the SITLESS study (61.8% women; 75.3±6.3 years) completed a self-reported SB questionnaire and wore an ActiGraph accelerometer for seven days. Accelerometer-determined compositional descriptive statistics were calculated. A fixed effects regression analysis was conducted to assess the socio-demographic (country, age, sex, civil status, education and medications) and functional (BMI and gait speed) correlates.

Older adults spent 78.8% of waking time in SB, 18.6% in light-intensity PA (LPA), and 2.6% in moderate to vigorous PA (MVPA). Accelerometry showed that women engaged in more LPA and walking and men engaged in higher amounts of MVPA. Watching television and reading accounted for 47.2% of waking time. Older age, being a man, single, taking more medications, being obese and overweight, and having a slower gait speed were statistically significant correlates of more sedentary time.

The high amount of SB of our participants justifies the need to develop and evaluate interventions to reduce sitting time. A clinically relevant change in gait speed can decrease almost 0.45 percentage points of sedentary time. The distribution of context-specific sedentary activities by country and sex showed minor differences, albeit worth noting.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalJournals of Gerontology, Series A
Early online date14 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 6 Feb 2020


  • Compositional analysis
  • Sedentary behavior
  • Physical activity
  • Socio-demographic correlates

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