Sedentary behaviors increase the risk of cardiovascular disease events and mortality, independently of physical activity levels. However, little is known about patterns of sedentary behavior among University employees.Design and method:
Thirty-four (12M, 22F; 48.8 ± 11.3yrs) apparently healthy faculty/staff were recruited from the Pennsylvania State University, Berks. Sedentary time was measured by an ActiGraph GT9X Link accelerometer (counts/min < 100) worn on the wrist for one-week. Each interruption in sedentary time (counts/min ≥100) lasting for 5 continuous minutes was considered a break. Total length of sedentary breaks/week (sum of all the times between sedentary bouts), average length of sedentary breaks/day (total length of sedentary breaks/total sedentary breaks.day−1) and mean caloric expenditure/day were estimated using the Actilife software.Results:
Males vs. females (Mean ± SD) for total length of sedentary breaks/week (6913.75 ± 591.16 vs. 6194.73 ± 645.40min; p = 0.003); average length of sedentary breaks/day (811.74 ± 97.91 vs. 703.33 ± 134.22min; p = 0.02) and mean caloric expenditure/day (1682 .71 ± 568.48 vs. 1249.48 ± 508.15kcals; p = 0.29). Average length of sedentary breaks/day was associated with mean caloric expenditure/day (r = 0.37; p = 0.03). There was no statistically significant difference in total sedentary breaks/day (111 vs. 107) between the two groups.Conclusions:
Male employees spent ∼13% more time and expended about ∼25% more calories during their breaks compared to their female counterparts. These results suggest that duration of interruptions in sedentary time rather than the frequency of breaks, is associated with increased caloric expenditure. This highlights the importance of interrupting the sedentary pattern by taking longer, active breaks.