Nonworksite Interventions to Reduce Sedentary Behavior among Adults: A Systematic Review

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Abstract

Sedentary behavior has been identified as a major health risk. Although interventions to reduce time spent sedentary have become increasingly prevalent, the vast majority of this work in adults has been focused on workplace sedentary behavior and often pairs sedentary reduction interventions with increasing physical activity. As research designed to specifically decrease sedentary time that is not limited to the workplace becomes available, identifying strategies and approaches, along with feasibility and efficacy of these interventions, is warranted. Electronic databases were searched for sedentary interventions with eligibility criteria, including (a) interventions designed to explicitly reduce sedentary behavior that were not limited to the workplace, (b) outcomes specific to sedentary behavior, (c) adults at least 18 yr of age, and (d) written in English. A total of 767 full-text manuscripts were identified, with 13 studies meeting all eligibility criteria. Although intervention characteristics and methodological quality varied greatly among studies, 10 of the 13 studies observed a significant reduction in objectively measured sitting time postintervention. In those studies that collected participant feasibility/acceptability data, all reported that the intervention was viewed as “favorable to very favorable,” would use again, and that participant burden was quite low, suggesting that these interventions were feasible. Sedentary behavior interventions not limited to the workplace appear to be largely efficacious. Although results varied with respect to the magnitude of the decrease in time spent sedentary, they are encouraging. However, because of the small body of evidence and the variability of study designs, our ability to make overarching statements regarding “best practices” at this time is limited. Well-controlled trials of longer duration with larger samples, using theoretically based interventions with consistent prescriptions for limiting sedentary time, are needed.

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