Association of Sedentary Time with Mortality Independent of Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity

Association of Sedentary Time with Mortality Independent of Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity


Sedentary behavior has emerged as a novel health risk factor independent of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Previous studies have shown self-reported sedentary time to be associated with mortality; however, no studies have investigated the effect of objectively measured sedentary time on mortality independent of MVPA. The objective our study was to examine the association between objectively measured sedentary time and all-cause mortality.


7-day accelerometry data of 1906 participants aged 50 and over from the U.S. nationally representative National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2003–2004 were analyzed. All-cause mortality was assessed from the date of examination through December 31, 2006.


Over an average follow-up of 2.8 years, there were 145 deaths reported. In a model adjusted for sociodemographic factors, lifestyle factors, multiple morbidities, mobility limitation, and MVPA, participants in third quartile (hazard ratio (HR):4.05; 95%CI:1.55–10.60) and fourth quartile (HR:5.94; 95%CI: 2.49–14.15) of having higher percent sedentary time had a significantly increased risk of death compared to those in the lowest quartile.


Our study suggests that sedentary behavior is a risk factor for mortality independent of MVPA. Further investigation, including studies with longer follow-up, is needed to address the health consequences of sedentary behavior.

The 4th quartile of sedentary behavior had a risk of death almost 6 times that of the first quartile.Also, from the full paper, it’s worth noting that other factors were controlled for, i.e. this isn’t a case of lazy people with other detrimental factors:


Covariates included age, gender, race/ethnicity (non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, Hispanic, other), education (less than high school, high school or general equivalency diploma, more than high school), alcohol consumption (never, former, current drinker, missing), smoking status (never, former, current), body mass index (BMI, kg/m2), self-reported diabetes, coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure, stroke, cancer, and self-reported mobility limitation defined as any difficulty walking a quarter of a mile or walking up ten steps without resting.


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