Device-measured sedentary behavior and physical activity in older adults differ by demographic and health-related factors

Dohrn, Ing-Mari and Gardiner, Paul A. ORCID: and Winkler, Elisabeth and Welmer, Anna-Karin (2020) Device-measured sedentary behavior and physical activity in older adults differ by demographic and health-related factors. European Review of Aging and Physical Activity, 17 (1):8. ISSN 1813-7253

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Background: Our aim was to describe and explore older adults' device-measured sedentary behavior and physical activity (PA) pattern by sex, age, education, marital status, body mass index, and physical function; and to assess agreement regarding fulfillment of PA recommendations, i.e. 150 min/week of moderate-to-vigorous intensity PA (MVPA), between device-measured and self-reported PA.

Method: We included 656 older adults (64% women), aged 66, 81-87 or ≥ 90 years from a Swedish population-based cohort study. The activPAL3 accelerometer provided information on sedentary behavior (sedentary time, sedentary bouts, sit-to-stand transitions) and PA. Stepping ≥100 steps/min was considered MVPA; standing and stepping < 100 steps/min were considered light-intensity PA (LPA). Self-reported PA was compared with min/week in MVPA and steps/day.

Results: On average, 60% of wear time was spent sedentary, 36% in LPA, and 4% in MVPA. Relative to men, women, had significantly (p < 0.05) more sit-to-stand transitions, spent 33 min/day less sedentary and 27 min/day more in LPA, and were more likely to report meeting PA recommendations, but showed no difference in steps/day, MVPA, or sedentary bout duration. Older age was associated with more sedentary time, lower MVPA and fewer steps/day. The prevalence of meeting PA recommendations was 59% device-measured and 88% by self-report with limited agreement between methods (Cohen's Kappa = 0.21, Spearman's rho = 0.28). Age differences were much more pronounced with objective measures than by self-report.

Conclusions: We found significant sex differences in sedentary behavior and time in LPA in older adults, but not in MVPA, in contrast to previous findings. Sedentary time increased with age, with small differences in accumulation pattern. MVPA time was lower with older age, obesity, and poor physical function. A majority of the participants > 80 years did not meet the PA recommendations. Given the strong relationships between sedentary behavior, PA and health in older adults, programs are needed to address these behaviors. Agreement between device-measured and self-reported fulfillment of PA recommendations was limited. Device-based measurement adds value to PA studies, providing richer and different data than self-report. © 2020 The Author(s).

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © The Author(s). 2020 Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2021 07:30
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 03:43
Uncontrolled Keywords: accelerometery; cohort study; sitting; validation
Fields of Research (2008): 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified
11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111706 Epidemiology
11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1106 Human Movement and Sports Science > 110699 Human Movement and Sports Science not elsewhere classified
Fields of Research (2020): 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4202 Epidemiology > 420201 Behavioural epidemiology
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4207 Sports science and exercise > 420799 Sports science and exercise not elsewhere classified
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4206 Public health > 420606 Social determinants of health
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