Sedentary behaviors and subsequent health outcomes in adults: A systematic review of longitudinal studies, 1996-2011

Document Type

Journal Article


Elsevier Inc


Faculty of Computing, Health and Science


ECU Health and Wellness Institute




This article was originally published as: Thorp, A., Owen, N., Neuhaus, M., & Dunstan, D. (2011). Sedentary behaviors and subsequent health outcomes in adults: A systematic review of longitudinal studies, 1996-2011. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 41(2), 207-215. Original article available here


Research is now required on factors influencing adults’ sedentary behaviors, and effective approaches to behavioral-change intervention must be identifıed. The strategies for influencing sedentary behavior will need to be informed by evidence on the most important modifıable behavioral determinants. However, much of the available evidence relevant to understanding the determinants of sedentary behaviors is from cross-sectional studies, which are limited in that they identify only behavioral “correlates.” As is the case for physical activity, a behavior- and context-specifıc approach is needed to understand the multiple determinants operating in the different settings within which these behaviors are most prevalent. To this end, an ecologic model of sedentary behaviors is described, highlighting the behavior settings construct. The behaviors and contexts of primary concern are TV viewing and other screen-focused behaviors in domestic environments, prolonged sitting in the workplace, and time spent sitting in automobiles. Research is needed to clarify the multiple levels of determinants of prolonged sitting time, which are likely to operate in distinct ways in these different contexts. Controlled trials on the feasibility and effıcacy of interventions to reduce and break up sedentary behaviors among adults in domestic, workplace, and transportation environments are particularly required. It would be informative for the fıeld to have evidence on the outcomes of “natural experiments,” such as the introduction of nonseated working options in occupational environments or new transportation infrastructure in communities. (Am J Prev Med 2011;41(2):189 –196) © 2011 American Journal of Preventive Medicine


Link to publisher version (DOI)