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Br J Sports Med. 2012 Aug;46(10):747-52. doi: 10.1136/bjsm.2010.081430. Epub 2011 May 2.

The association between sedentary leisure and physical activity in middle-aged adults.

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  • 1School of Human Movement Studies, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia.



The aim of this study was to examine the association between time spent in sedentary leisure and physical activity level in mid-aged men and women.


Data were from the 2007 HABITAT study in Brisbane, Australia. A mail survey sent to 17 000 adults (40-65 years) provided 11 037 responses (68.5%), and 9121 (82.6%) were analysed. Sedentary leisure was quantified as hours/day spent sitting watching television, in home computer use, in general leisure, and overall, on a usual week and weekend day. Physical activity level (no activity, low, recommended, high, very high) included walking, moderate and vigorous activity combined into a measure of MET.min/week. Data were analysed separately for men and women using multilevel multinomial logistic regression with adjustment for sociodemographic and health variables.


The only significant negative associations were between watching television on a week day and high activity in men (0.91; 0.83-0.98), and home computer use on a weekend day and very high activity in men (0.89; 0.81-0.98). For both men and women, there were significant positive associations between overall sedentary leisure time on a week day and very high activity (men: 1.07, 1.02-1.13; women: 1.10, 1.04-1.16), home computer use on a week day and very high activity (men: 1.11, 1.01-1.22; women: 1.15, 1.04-1.27) and general leisure on a week day and most activity levels.


Sedentary leisure is mainly independent of physical activity and does not preclude meeting physical activity recommendations.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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