Researchers in the Division of Public Health Sciences, including Yin Cao, ScD; Graham Colditz, MD, DrPH; Chao Cao, MPH; and Yikyung Park, ScD, have published a new study in JAMA that elucidates “Trends in Sedentary Behavior Among the US Population, 2001-2016.” Sitting for long periods of time, especially while watching television, has been associated with multiple diseases, including obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and mortality. Despite these significant findings, changes in sedentary behaviors over time have not been well described in the US. Cao, et. al. sought to remedy this by evaluating patterns and trends across time in sedentary behaviors in the US population, as well as sociodemographic and lifestyle correlates.
The study found that the prevalence of sitting watching television or videos for at least two hours per day was high, while sedentary computer use outside of work increased among all age groups. These findings add to the suggestion in the recently updated “Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans” that most people would benefit from both increasing moderate-to-vigorous activity and reducing time spent sitting.
With this more detailed and comprehensive analysis of sedentary behavior patterns, the hope is to be able to develop better age-specific public health campaigns and programs.