Associations of sedentary behavior bouts with community-dwelling older adults' physical function

Jason Wilson, Ilona Mc Mullan, Nicole Blackburn, Mathias Skjødt, Paolo Caserotti, Maria Giné-Garriga, Ana Claudia Farche, Jochen Klenk, Dhayana Dallmeier, Manuela Deidda, Marta Roqué i Figuls, Mark Tully

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The study aim was to explore associations between sedentary behavior (SB) bouts and physical function in 1360 community-dwelling older adults (≥65 years old). SB was measured using an ActiGraph wGT3X + accelerometer for seven consecutive days at the dominant hip and processed accordingly. Various SB bout lengths were assessed including: 1- to 9-minutes; 10- to 29-minutes; 30- to 59-minutes; and ≥60-minutes, as well as maximum time spent in a SB bout. Total SB time was adjusted for within the SB bout variables used (percentage SB time in the SB bout length and number of SB bouts per total SB hour). Physical function was assessed using the 2-minute walk test (2MWT), 5-times sit-to-stand (chair stand) test, and unipedal stance test (UST). Hierarchical linear regression models were utilized. Covariates such as moderate-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), demographic and health characteristics were controlled for. Lower percentage time spent in ≥60-minute SB bouts was significantly (P <.05) associated with longer 2MWT distance while lower numbers of ≥60-minute SB bouts were associated with longer 2MWT distance, shorter chair stand time and longer UST time. There were mixed associations with physical function for 10- to 29-minute SB bouts. In a large cohort of European older adults, prolonged SB bouts lasting ≥60-minutes appear to be associated with reduced physical function after controlling for MVPA and numerous other important covariates. Besides reducing SB levels, these findings suggest there is a need to regularly interrupt prolonged SB to improve physical function in older adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-162
Number of pages10
JournalScandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports
Issue number1
Early online date18 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 15 Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors of this manuscript were supported and funded by the European Union program Horizon 2020 (H2020-Grant 634270) as part of the SITLESS consortium. The authors wish to express their appreciation for all those that volunteered for this study and Mrs Nicky Laird for her administrative support. We also thank the Northern Ireland Clinical Research Facility and the Municipality of Odense for facilitating the assessments in the United Kingdom and Danish sites, respectively. The work described in this publication was part of the SITLESS project, supported and funded by the European Union program Horizon 2020 (H2020-Grant 634270). Consortium members of the participating organizations of the SITLESS project: Antoni Salv? Casanovas, ?lex Domingo, Marta Roqu? and Laura Coll-Planas: Health and Ageing Foundation of the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain; Maria Gin?-Garriga, Miriam Guerra-Balic, Carme Martin-Borr?s, Javier Jerez-Roig, Guillermo R Oviedo, Marta Santiago-Carr?s, Oriol Sansano and Guillermo Varela: Faculty of Psychology, Education and Sport Sciences Blanquerna, Ramon Llull University, Barcelona, Spain; Emma McIntosh and Manuela Deidda: Health Economics and Health Technology Assessment, University of Glasgow, UK; Dietrich Rothenbacher, Michael Denkinger, Katharina Wirth, Dhayana Dallmeier and Jochen Klenk: Institute of Epidemiology and Medical Biometry, Ulm University, Germany; Frank Kee: Centre for Public Health, School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, Queen's University Belfast, UK; Mark A Tully, Jason J Wilson, Nicole E Blackburn and Ilona McMullan: School of Health Sciences, Ulster University, UK; Paolo Caserotti and Mathias Skj?dt: Department of Sport Science and Clinical Biomechanics, University of South Denmark, Denmark; Guillaume Lefebvre: SIEL, Sport initiative et Loisir Bleu association, Stra?bourg, France; Denise Gonz?lez: SIEL, Sport initiative et Loisir Bleu association, Barcelona, Spain.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Authors. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science In Sports published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • accelerometers
  • older adults
  • physical function
  • sedentary behavior


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