Excessive sitting at work and at home: Correlates of occupational sitting and TV viewing time in working adults

Nyssa T Hadgraft, Brigid M Lynch, Bronwyn K Clark, Genevieve N Healy, Neville Owen, David W Dunstan
BMC Public Health 2015, 15: 899

BACKGROUND: Recent evidence links sedentary behaviour (or too much sitting) with poorer health outcomes; many adults accumulate the majority of their daily sitting time through occupational sitting and TV viewing. To further the development and targeting of evidence-based strategies there is a need for identification of the factors associated with higher levels of these behaviours. This study examined socio-demographic and health-related correlates of occupational sitting and of combined high levels of occupational sitting/TV viewing time amongst working adults.

METHODS: Participants were attendees of the third wave (2011/12) of the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle (AusDiab) study who worked full-time (≥35 h/week; n = 1,235; 38 % women; mean ± SD age 53 ± 7 years). Logistic and multinomial logistic regression analyses were conducted (separately for women and men) to assess cross-sectional associations of self-reported occupational sitting time (categorised as high/low based on the median) and also the combination of occupational sitting time/TV viewing time (high/low for each outcome), with a number of potential socio-demographic and health-related correlates.

RESULTS: Higher levels of occupational sitting (>6 h/day) were associated with higher household income for both genders. Lower levels of occupational sitting were associated with being older (women only); and, for men only, having a blue collar occupation, having a technical/vocational educational attainment, and undertaking more leisure-time physical activity (LTPA). Attributes associated with high levels of both occupational sitting and TV viewing time included white collar occupation (men only), lower levels of LTPA (both genders), higher BMI (men), and higher energy consumption (women).

CONCLUSIONS: Higher household income (both genders) and professional/managerial occupations (men only) were correlates of high occupational sitting time, relative to low occupational sitting time, while health-related factors (lower LTPA, higher BMI - men, and higher energy consumption - women) were associated with high levels of both occupational sitting and TV viewing time, relative to low occupational sitting and low TV viewing time. These findings suggest possible high-risk groups that may benefit from targeted interventions. Further research is needed on potentially modifiable environmental and social correlates of occupational sitting time, in order to inform workplace initiatives.

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