Exploration of sedentary behaviour among general practitioners: A cross-sectional study

Richard S Mayne, Nigel D Hart, Mark A Tully, Jason J Wilson, Jan C Brønd, Neil Heron

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2 Citations (Scopus)
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Background Sedentary behaviour, which may have increased among GPs due to increasing use of telemedicine, is associated with many illnesses and increased all-cause mortality. Aim To explore levels of sedentary behaviour among GPs and General Practice Specialty Trainees (GPSTs). Design & setting Sequential, cross-sectional design (initial online sedentary behaviour questionnaire, subsequent thigh-worn accelerometer sub-study) of GPs and GPSTs in Northern Ireland. Method Self-reported questionnaire data were aggregated and compared with device-measured accelerometry data. Results Data from 353 participants (17.7% of GPs and GPSTs in Northern Ireland) revealed doctors in general practice self-reported higher workday sedentary time (10.33 (SD =2.97) hours) than those in secondary care (7.9 (SD =3.43) hours) (MD 2.43 hours; P<0.001). An active workstation (eg, sit-stand desk), was used by 5.6% of participants in general practice, while 86.0% of those without one would consider using one in future. Active workstation users self-reported lower workday sedentary time (7.88 (SD =3.2) hours) than non-users (10.47 (SD =2.88) hours) (MD –2.58 hours, P=0.001). Accelerometer sub-study participants underestimated their workday sedentary time by 0.17 hours (95% CI –1.86, 2.20; P=0.865), and non-workday sedentary time by 2.67 hours (95% CI 0.99, 4.35; P=0.003). Most GPs (80.7%) reported increased workday sitting time compared to prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, while 87.0% would prefer less workday sitting time. Conclusion GPs have high levels of workday sedentary time, which may be detrimental to their health. It is imperative to develop methods to address sedentary behaviour among GPs on workdays, both for their own health and the health of their patients.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalBritish Journal of General Practice Open (BJGP Open)
Early online date8 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished online - 8 Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

This study is funded by the Health and Social Care Research and Development Division,
Public Health Agency’s GP Academic Research Training Scheme under grant number
EAT/5332/19. The funding body had no influence in the design of the study nor in the
collection, analysis and interpretation of data as well as the writing of related manuscripts.


  • sedentary behaviour
  • physical activity
  • primary care
  • General practice
  • general practice


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