Physical Activity


Who is sedentary ?

This study was partly supported by the Swiss National Fund for Scientific Research Grant no.32-37986.93.

Definition and Prevalence of Sedentarism in an Urban Population.
MS Bernstein, A Morabia, D Sloutskis
Am J Public Health 1999; 89:862-67.


Objectives. The present study sought to formulate a precise definition of sedentarism and to identify activities performed by active people that could serve as effective preventive goals.

Methods. A population-based sample of 919 men and women, residents of Geneva, Switzerland, 35 to 74 years old, complited a telephone 24-hour recall. Sedentary people were defined as those expending less than 10% of their daily energy expenditure in the performance of moderate- and high-intensity activities (at least 4 times the basal metabolism rate; e.g., brisk walking).

Results. The rates of sedentarism was 79.5% in men and 87.3% in women. Among sedentary and active men, average daily energy expenditure was 2600 kcal (confidence interval: 2553-2650) and 3226 kcal (3103-3339) repectively; the corresponding average for women were 2092 kcal (2064-2120) and 2356 kcal (2274-2440). The main moderate- and high-intensity activities of active people were sports (tennis, gymnastics, skiing), walking, climbing stairs, gardening, and (for men only) occupational activities.

Conclusions. The definition of sedentarismoutlined in this article can be reproduced in other populations, allows comparisons across studies and provides preventive guidelines since the activities most frequently performed by active people may be the most likely to be adopted by sedentary peers.

The following poster was presented at the annual Meeting of Epidemiologic Research, Chicago, June 24-26 1998.

poster1 - 33k

poster2 - 29k


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