Adults' Sedentary Behavior

Too much sitting—which includes TV viewing, computer screen viewing, and prolonged sitting at work and in automobiles—has negative health consequences. This article, which introduces a theme issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, proposes a set of perspectives on “too much sitting” that can guide future research.

The authors believe that an ecologic model of sedentary behavior best describes the multiple factors—personal, social, workplace, environmental and policy—that influence sedentary behaviors by adults and can be altered to lead to behavior change.

They summarize relevant evidence of the few available studies on the correlates of sedentary behavior and present evidence on some interventions to reduce sitting time. They suggest that further interventions might include public health messages to reduce discretionary sitting time; changes to environments to encourage standing, such as when talking on the phone or watching TV; and pedometer use programs to increase walking.

After outlining priority areas for research on determinants, the authors suggest a dual track for researching interventions. “Designing controlled intervention studies, and opportunistically evaluating innovative changes taking place in communities may lead more quickly to evidence-based approaches for reducing sedentary behavior than will either path alone,” they write.