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Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2015 Mar;67(3):366-73. doi: 10.1002/acr.22432.

Sedentary behavior and physical function: objective evidence from the Osteoarthritis Initiative.

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Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois.



Investigate the relationship between sedentary behavior and physical function in adults with knee osteoarthritis (OA), controlling for moderate-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) levels.


Sedentary behavior was objectively measured by accelerometer on 1,168 participants ages 49-83 years in the Osteoarthritis Initiative with radiographic knee OA at the 48-month clinic visit. Physical function was assessed using 20-meter walk and chair stand testing. Sedentary behavior was identified by accelerometer activity counts/minute <100. The cross-sectional association between sedentary quartiles and physical function was examined by multiple linear regression, adjusting for demographic factors (age, sex, race/ethnicity, education level), health factors (comorbidity, body mass index, knee pain, knee OA severity, presence of knee symptoms), and average daily MVPA minutes.


Adults with knee OA spent two-thirds of their daily time in sedentary behavior. The average gait speed among the most sedentary quartile was 3.88 feet/second, which was significantly slower than the speed of the less sedentary groups (4.23, 4.33, and 4.33 feet/second, respectively). The average chair stand rate among the most sedentary group was significantly lower (25.9 stands/minute) than the rates of the less sedentary behavior groups (28.9, 29.1, and 31.1 stands/minute, respectively). These trends remained significant in multivariable analyses adjusted for demographic factors, health factors, and average daily MVPA minutes.


Being less sedentary was related to better physical function in adults with knee OA independent of MVPA time. These findings support guidelines to encourage adults with knee OA to decrease time spent in sedentary behavior in order to improve physical function.

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