Send to

Choose Destination
Gerontologist. 2017 Aug 1;57(4):735-744. doi: 10.1093/geront/gnv689.

Perceptions of Sedentary Behavior Among Socially Engaged Older Adults.

Author information

Faculty of Health Sciences (Kinesiology), University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Oshawa, Canada.
School of Rehabilitation Therapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.



To better understand the perceptions of sedentary behavior, its pros and cons, and the barriers associated with reducing sedentary time as it pertains to older adults.

Design and Methods:

Four focus group sessions were conducted with older adults (n = 26). Each focus group lasted approximately 45min, was led by an experienced qualitative researcher, and utilized probing questions on the definition of sedentary behavior, pros and cons of sedentary behavior, and programming needs for sedentary time reduction. Sessions were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Two researchers independently extracted data from the transcripts and identified major themes and subthemes. Data on sociodemographics and current activity levels were collected via questionnaires.


Participants were 74±8.5 years old and were primarily women (77%). They self-reported sitting for 5.6±1.7h per day and engaging in physical activity for 172±115min/day. Four themes were identified. The first theme indicated that older adults have varied definitions of the term sedentary behavior and that they have a negative perception of this term. The second theme indicated that participants perceived social, cognitive, and physical benefits to the sedentary activities in which they engaged, and that these activities were meaningful. The third theme indicated that physical health was the only perceived disadvantage of engaging in sedentary activities. Finally, the fourth theme indicated that there were several perceived barriers to sedentary time reduction, both person and environment related.


These findings have implications for use of terminology in policy and public health strategies targeting sedentary time reduction in older adults.


Health; Physical activity; Sitting

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
Loading ...
Support Center