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01.12.2017 | Technical advance | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

BMC Public Health 1/2017

A novel integrative procedure for identifying and integrating three-dimensions of objectively measured free-living sedentary behaviour

BMC Public Health > Ausgabe 1/2017
Anna Myers, Catherine Gibbons, Edward Butler, Michelle Dalton, Nicola Buckland, John Blundell, Graham Finlayson



The widely accepted definition of sedentary behaviour [SB] refers to any waking behaviour characterized by an energy expenditure ≤1.5 metabolic equivalents [METs] while in a sitting or reclining posture. At present, there is no single field-based device which objectively measures sleep, posture and activity intensity simultaneously. The aim of this study was to develop a novel integrative procedure [INT] to combine information from two validated activity monitors on sleep, activity intensity and posture, the three key dimensions of SB.


Participants in this analysis were initially recruited from a series of three studies conducted between December 2014 and June 2016 at the University of Leeds. Sixty-three female participants aged 37.1 (13.6) years with a body mass index of 29.6 (4.7) kg/m2 were continuously monitored for 5–7 days with the SenseWear Armband [SWA] (sleep and activity intensity) and the activPAL [AP] (posture). Data from both activity monitors were analysed separately and integrated resulting in three measures of sedentary time. Differences in Sedentary time between the three measurement methods were assessed as well as how well the three measures correlated.


The three measures of sedentary time were positively correlated, with the weakest relationship between SEDSWA (awake and <1.5 METs) and SEDAP (awake and sitting/lying posture) [r(61) = .37,p = .003], followed by SEDSWA and SEDINT (awake, <1.5 METs and sitting/lying posture) [r(61) = .58,p < .001], and the strongest relationship was between SEDAP and SEDINT [r(61) = .91,p < .001]. There was a significant difference between the three measures of sedentary time [F(1.18,73.15) = 104.70,p < .001]. Post-hoc tests revealed all three methods differed significantly from each other [p < .001]. SEDSWA resulted in the most sedentary time 11.74 (1.60) hours/day, followed by SEDAP 10.16 (1.75) hours/day, and SEDINT 9.10 (1.67) hours/day. Weekday and weekend day sedentary time did not differ for any of the measurement methods [p = .04–.25].


Information from two validated activity monitors was combined to obtain an objective measure of free-living SB based on posture and activity intensity during waking hours. The amount of sedentary time accumulated varied according to the definition of SB and its measurement. The novel data integration and processing procedures presented in this paper represents an opportunity to investigate whether different components of SB are differentially related to health end points.
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