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Sedentary Behavior and Health

Sedentary Behavior and Health


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    From office jobs and long commutes to passive entertainment like television and video games, humans are sitting more than ever. Though lack of exercise has major health consequences, researchers are now examining the additional and widespread health risk of the simple act of sitting for extended periods. With research from leading scientists, Sedentary Behavior and Health: Concepts, Assessments, and Interventions presents evidence on sedentary behavior, its apparent health risks, and suggestions on measuring and altering this behavior.

    Editors Weimo Zhu and Neville Owen have assembled a highly respected team of international contributors. Together, they provide an interdisciplinary review of current research, examining scientific, public health, and broader social questions about the implications of sedentary behavior. These topics include humans’ physiological predispositions, exacerbation of current health conditions like obesity and diabetes, and the design and ergonomics of offices and chairs.

    To examine the many facets of this developing area of study, Sedentary Behavior and Health is divided into five parts:
    • “Sedentary Behavior Concepts and Context” reviews the physiology of sedentary behavior, investigating current habits from the perspectives of evolution, industrial engineering, and design.
    • “Sedentary Behavior and Health” explores the relationship between sedentary behavior and several major chronic diseases, including obesity, cardiovascular disease, and low-back pain.
    • “Measuring and Analyzing Sedentary Behavior” explains research methods for understanding and measuring sedentary behavior in order to recognize patterns and design interventions.
    • “Sedentary Behavior and Subpopulations” covers issues, risks, and behaviors in groups such as children, working adults, older adults, and minorities.
    • “Changing Sedentary Behavior” provides methods and recommendations for improvement with environmental, social, community, worksite, and technology-based interventions.
    Included in this groundbreaking text are learning objectives, key concepts, and study questions to focus attention on key issues and reinforce concepts. Reviews of the literature in the field are presented, many with comparisons in table form, to provide the full scope of research. Sidebars throughout the text apply theoretical concepts to real-world scenarios.

    Inactivity is mismatched with many aspects of humans’ genetic makeup. While it is becoming the new norm, the consequences of this behavior are emerging as a public health threat. Sedentary Behavior and Health will serve as a key reference for the rapidly emerging research area of sedentary behavior.


    Textbook and reference for students and professionals in the exercise sciences, physical education, physical and/or occupational therapy, and public health. A key reference for those working in or studying workplace wellness initiatives, applied behavioral science, urban planning, engineering and design, and environmental and public policy.

    Table of Contents

    Part I. Sedentary Behavior Concepts and Context
    Chapter 1. Emergence of Research on Sedentary Behavior and Health
    Neville Owen
    Contemporary Sedentary Behavior Research and Concepts
    Sedentary Behavior and Health
    Sedentary Research Agenda
    Sedentary Behavior Research Priorities
    Chapter 2. Gravity, Sitting, and Health
    Joan Vernikos
    Gravity and Spaceflight
    Head Down Bed Rest Studies
    Gravity Deprivation Syndrome
    Health Consequences of Prolonged Sitting and Gravity
    Perceiving Gravity
    Gravity Intervention Design and Implementation
    Chapter 3. Physiological Effects of Reducing and Breaking Up Sitting Time
    David W. Dunstan, Bethany J. Howard, Audrey Bergouignan, Bronwyn A. Kingwell, and Neville Owen
    Methodological Considerations for Studies of Sedentary Behavior
    Metabolic Effects of Reduced Sitting and the Postprandial State
    Cardio Metabolic Effects Following Exposure to Reduced Sitting
    Cardiometabolic Effects of Repeated-Day Exposure to Reduced Sitting
    Public Health and Clinical Guidelines
    Chapter 4. Rethinking the Chair and Sitting
    Galen Cranz
    Problems with Sitting in Chairs
    Chair Designer Response
    Postural Education
    Chapter 5. Children and Screen Time
    Jorge A. Banda and Thomas N. Robinson
    Screen Time Exposure
    Mobile Devices and Screen Time Changes
    Influences on Media Use
    Screen Time and Body Weight
    Screen Time and Cardiometabolic Risk Factors
    Screen Time, Physical Activity, and Cardiorespiratory Fitness
    Screen Time and Dietary Habits
    Experimental Studies of Reducing Screen Time
    Part II. Sedentary Behavior and Health
    Chapter 6. Economics of Sedentary Occupations
    Kenneth A. Glover
    Economic Sectors
    Economics of Inactivity
    Worksite Health Promotion
    Regulation and Innovation
    Choice Architecture
    Chapter 7. Sedentary Behavior and Obesity
    Michael L. Power
    Role of Fat
    Adipose Tissue and Endocrine Function
    Mismatch Paradigm
    Obesity and Inflammation
    Central Versus Peripheral Obesity
    Sex Differences in Fat Storage and Mobilization
    Vitamin D, Adipose Tissue, and Sedentary Behavior
    Obesity Prevalence
    Chapter 8. Sedentary Behavior and Incident Diabetes
    Carl J. Caspersen and G. Darlene Thomas
    Diabetes Statistics
    Key Risk Factors
    Epidemiological Diabetes Research
    Research Limitations
    Six Criteria to Assess a Causal Inference for Sedentary Behavior and Diabetes
    Chapter 9. Sedentary Behavior and Cardiovascular Disease
    Edward Archer, Enrique G. Artero, and Steven N. Blair
    Cardiovascular Diseases
    Occupational Physical Activity and CVD
    Physical Activity and CVD
    Chapter 10. Sedentary Behavior and Cancer
    Brigid M. Lynch and Christine M. Friedenreich
    Cancer Epidemiology
    Key Risk Factors
    Sedentary Behavior and Cancer Research
    Sedentary Behavior and Cancer Survivorship
    Proposed Biological Mechanisms
    Chapter 11. Sedentary Behavior and Low Back Pain
    Marco S. Boscolo and Weimo Zhu
    Low Back Pain and Its Impact
    Spine Anatomy
    Spine Stability
    Known Risk Factors of Low Back Pain
    Relationship Between Low Back Pain and Sedentary Behavior
    Prevention of Low Back Pain
    Chapter 12. Sedentary behavior and psychological well-being
    Stuart J.H. Biddle and Stephan Bandelow
    Sedentary Behavior and Depression
    Sedentary Behavior and Cognitive Functioning
    Sedentary Behavior and Health-Related Quality of Life
    Part III. Measuring and Analyzing Sedentary Behavior
    Chapter 13. Assessing Sedentary Behavior Using Questionnaires
    Barbara E. Ainsworth, Alberto Flórez Pregonero, and Fabien Rivière
    Key Components of Questionnaires
    Measurement Principles of Questionnaires
    Practical Guidelines
    Chapter 14. Assessing Sedentary Behavior Using Motion Sensors
    Kong Y. Chen and Richard P. Troiano
    Key Components of Motion Sensors
    Measurement Principles of Motion Transducers
    Practical Guidelines
    Potential of Raw Accelerometer Data
    Chapter 15. Assessing Sedentary Behavior Using Physiological Sensors
    David Bassett and Dinesh John
    Key Components of Physiological Sensors
    Measurement Principles of Physiological Sensors
    Practical Guidelines
    Chapter 16. Assessing Sedentary Behavior Using New Technology
    Dinesh John and Stephen Intille
    Existing Technology for Measuring Sedentary Behavior
    Sedentary Behavior Measurement Goals
    Improvements and Emerging Technology for Measuring Sedentary Behavior
    Data Collection, Storage, and Open Source Processing
    Chapter 17. Critical Measurement and Research Issues in Analyzing Sedentary Behavior
    Weimo Zhu
    Sedentary Behavior Data Characteristics
    Challenges and Solutions in the Analysis of Sedentary Behavior Data
    Part IV. Sedentary Behavior and Subpopulations
    Chapter 18. Sedentary Behavior in Children
    Gregory J. Welk and Youngwon Kim
    Measures of Sedentary Behavior in Youth
    Health Effects of Sedentary Behavior in Youth
    Epidemiology of Sedentary Behavior in Youth
    Differences in Sedentary Behavior by Age and Gender
    Social and Cultural Differences in Sedentary Behavior in Youth
    Correlates of Youth Sedentary Behavior
    Patterns of Youth Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior
    Intervention Approaches for Sedentary Behavior in Youth
    Chapter 19. Occupational Sedentary Behavior in Adults
    Wendy J. Brown
    Most Sedentary Occupations
    Characteristics of Sitting at Work
    Health Effects of Occupational Sitting
    Changing Sitting at Work to Improve Health Outcomes
    Chapter 20. Sedentary Behavior of Older Adults
    Jorge A. Banda, Sandra J. Winter, and Abby C. King
    Measuring Sedentary Behavior in Older Adults
    Health and Functional Outcomes of Sedentary Behavior
    Putative Drivers of Sedentary Behavior
    Possible Contexts of Sedentary Behavior
    Interventions Aimed at Reducing Sedentary Behavior
    Chapter 21. Sedentary Behavior in Racial/Ethnic Minority Groups
    Melicia C. Whitt-Glover and Tyrone G. Ceaser
    Correlates of Sedentary Behavior
    Interventions to Reduce Sedentary Behavior in Racial/Ethnic Minorities
    Part V. Changing Sedentary Behavior
    Chapter 22. Psychological and Behavior-Based Interventions
    Kevin Moran and John P. Elder
    Theories of Reasoned Action and Planned Behavior
    Social Cognitive Theory
    Health Belief Model
    Transtheoretical Model
    Operant Conditioning, Contingency Management and Positivistic Models
    Socioecological Models
    Chapter 23. Environment and Policy Interventions
    Jordan A. Carlson and James F. Sallis
    Comprehensive Multi-Level Approaches
    Evaluating Environment and Policy Interventions
    Integrating Environment and Policy Interventions with Other Approaches
    Practical Guidelines
    Chapter 24. Sedentary Behavior and Worksite Interventions
    Nicolaas P. Pronk
    Characteristics of Worksite Interventions
    Applications of Worksite Interventions
    Practical Guidelines
    Chapter 25. Community Based Interventions
    Adrian Bauman and Josephine Y. Chau
    Framework for Assessing Sedentary Behavior-Reducing Interventions
    Evaluating Community-Based Interventions
    Practical Guidelines
    Chapter 26. Ergonomics of Redesigning Sitting
    John B. Shea
    Characteristics and Impact of Chair Designs and Positional Behaviors
    Applications of Sitting Redesign
    Practical Guidelines
    Chapter 27. Emerging Communication Systems to Curb Physical Inactivity
    Dolores Albarracin, Vera Liao, Jessica Yi, and Cheng Zhai
    Determinants of Exposure and Attitude
    Determinants of Attitude and Behavior Change
    Information Systems
    Epilogue: Where to Go From Here?
    Weimo Zhu and Neville Owen


    About the Author & Editor

    Weimo Zhu, PhD, is currently a tenured full professor in the department of kinesiology and community health at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His major area of research is in kinesmetrics (i.e., measurement and evaluation in kinesiology).

    Dr. Zhu’s primary research interests are the study and application of new measurement theories (e.g., item response theory) and models to the field of kinesiology. His research works have earned him international recognition. He is the editor in chief of the Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport and a fellow of the American Academy of Kinesiology, American College of Sports Medicine, and Research Consortium of SHAPE America. He is a member of the Fitnessgram/Activitygram Advisory Committee. He is also a member of the editorial board for various academic journals and serves on the executive committees of several national and international professional organizations. Dr. Zhu was the chair of the Measurement and Evaluation Council of SHAPE America. Currently, Dr. Zhu is examining the application of advanced measurement and statistical techniques to several measurement issues in public health. A practical application of Zhu’s theoretical work has been in the assessment of physical activity and sedentary behavior, and he is exploring a new idea and technologies to solve the problems raised.

    Neville Owen, PhD, is head of the Behavioural Epidemiology Laboratory at the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, a National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC) senior principal research fellow, adjunct professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Queensland, honorary professorial fellow in the School of Population and Global Health at the University of Melbourne, and adjunct professor in medicine at Monash University. He was foundation professor of Human Movement Science and inaugural head of the School of Human Movement at Deakin University (1995-99) and director of the Cancer Prevention Research Centre at the University of Queensland (2002-11). His research deals with the prevention and management of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer through identifying health consequences, environmental determinants, and behavior-change strategies for physical inactivity and sedentary behavior.

    Owen has published more than 450 peer-reviewed papers and the book Physical Activity and Behavioral Medicine with James F Sallis. Thomson Reuters (2015) identified him as a highly cited researcher and among the world’s most influential minds in the social sciences. He has been supported by grants from the NHMRC since 1992, including two grants for five-year programs (Physical Activity and Public Health; Sitting Less and Moving More: Population Health Research to Understand and Influence Sedentary Behaviour) and a grant from Centres of Research Excellence (Sitting Time and Chronic Disease Prevention: Measurement, Mechanisms and Interventions).