Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Who sits too much in Europe? A hierarchy of sociodemographic correlates of sedentary behavior

Too much sitting (extended sedentary time) is recognized as a public health concern in Europe and beyond. People who sit too much too long have lower cardio metabolic health and increased risk of premature death. Identifying population subgroups that sit too much may help to develop targeted interventions to reduce sedentary time. In a paper just published in Preventive Medicine, with Dr. Jeroen Lakerveld as first author (Jeroen is leader of the so-called Upstream Team, a research network focusing on environmental determinants of physical activity, dietary behaviours and chronic disease risk), we explored the relative importance of socio-demographic correlates of sedentary time in adults across Europe. We used data from 26,617 adults from 28 EU member states who participated in the 2013 Special Eurobarometer study on sport and physical activity. Their self-reported sedentary time was dichotomized into sitting less or >7.5h/day. A Chi-squared Automatic Interaction Detection (CHAID) algorithm was used to create a 'tree' that hierarchically partitions the data on the basis of the independent variables (i.e., socio-demographic factors) into homogeneous (sub)groups with regard to sedentary time. This allows for the tentative identification of population segments at risk for too much sitting. Eighteen and a half percent of respondents reported sitting >7.5h/day. Occupation was the primary discriminator. The subgroup most likely to engage in extensive sitting were higher educated, had white-collar jobs, reported no difficulties with paying bills, and used the internet frequently.