Temporal dynamics of sitting behavior at work
Number of pages
SourceProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 117, 26, (2020), pp. 14883-14889
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI AO
SW OZ BSI OGG
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA
SubjectAll institutes and research themes of the Radboud University Medical Center; Developmental Psychopathology; Radboudumc 16: Vascular damage RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences; Work, Health and Performance
Nowadays, most people spend large parts of their waking time sitting. Problematically, sitting for long, uninterrupted periods of time harms people’s health. To develop effective interventions, we need a solid understanding of the etiology of unhealthy sitting patterns. We proposed an approach to studying sitting behavior that aims to unravel the temporal dynamics of sitting patterns. Our research yielded insights regarding why and when people sit (e.g., mental fatigue may play a key role), and regarding how to best study sitting behavior (e.g., we need to distinguish sitting behavior from exercise behavior). These findings have implications for the design of effective interventions targeting sitting behavior. Moving forward, the science of sitting may benefit from adopting a dynamic approach.Sitting for prolonged periods of time impairs people’s health. Prior research has mainly investigated sitting behavior on an aggregate level, for example, by analyzing total sitting time per day. By contrast, taking a dynamic approach, here we conceptualize sitting behavior as a continuous chain of sit-to-stand and stand-to-sit transitions. We use multilevel time-to-event analysis to analyze the timing of these transitions. We analyze ∼30,000 objectively measured posture transitions from 156 people during work time. Results indicate that the temporal dynamics of sit-to-stand transitions differ from stand-to-sit transitions, and that people are quicker to switch postures later in the workday, and quicker to stand up after having been more active in the recent hours. We found no evidence for associations with physical fitness. Altogether, these findings provide insights into the origins of people's stand-up and sit-down decisions, show that sitting behavior is fundamentally different from exercise behavior, and provide pointers for the development of interventions.
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