WH&Y authors: Professor Leon Straker

Citation: McVeigh JA, Winkler EAH, Howie EK, Tremblay MS, Smith A, Abbott RA, Eastwood PR, Healy GN, Straker LM. Objectively measured patterns of sedentary time and physical activity in young adults of the Raine study cohort. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 13, 41 (2016).



Background: To provide a detailed description of young adults’ sedentary time and physical activity.

Methods: 384 young women and 389 young men aged 22.1 ± 0.6 years, all participants in the 22 year old follow-up of the Raine Study pregnancy cohort, wore Actigraph GT3X+ monitors on the hip for 24 h/day over a one-week period for at least one ‘valid’ day (≥10 h of waking wear time). Each minute epoch was classified as sedentary, light, moderate or vigorous intensity using 100 count and Freedson cut-points. Mixed models assessed hourly and daily variation; t-tests assessed gender differences.

Results: The average (mean ± SD) waking wear time was 15.0 ± 1.6 h/day, of which 61.4 ± 10.1 % was spent sedentary, 34.6 ± 9.1 % in light-, 3.7 ± 5.3 % in moderate- and, 0.3 ± 0.6 % in vigorous-intensity activity. Average time spent in moderate to vigorous activity (MVPA) was 36.2 ± 27.5 min/day. Relative to men, women had higher sedentary time, but also higher vigorous activity time. The ‘usual’ bout duration of sedentary time was 11.8 ± 4.5 min in women and 11.7 ± 5.2 min in men. By contrast, other activities were accumulated in shorter bout durations. There was large variation by hour of the day and by day of the week in both sedentary time and MVPA. Evenings and Sundays through Wednesdays tended to be particularly sedentary and/or inactive.

Conclusion: For these young adults, much of the waking day was spent sedentary and many participants were physically inactive (low levels of MVPA). We provide novel evidence on the time for which activities were performed and on the time periods when young adults were more sedentary and/or less active. With high sedentary time and low MVPA, young adults may be at risk for the life-course sequelae of these behaviours.

About The Authors


Leon Straker is a John Curtin Distinguished Professor of Physiotherapy, focussed on adolescent behav...