Feasibility of measuring sedentary time using data from a thigh-worn accelerometer: the 1970 British cohort study

Mark Hamer*, Emmanuel Stamatakis, Sebastien Chastin, Natalie Pearson, Matt Brown, Emily Gilbert, Alice Sullivan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)
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In large-scale cohort studies, sedentary behavior has been routinely measured using self-reports or devices that apply a count-based threshold. We employed a gold standard postural allocation technique using thigh inclination and acceleration to capture free-living sedentary behavior. Participants aged 46.8 (standard deviation (SD), 0.7) years (n = 5,346) from the 1970 British Cohort Study (United Kingdom) were fitted with a waterproofed thigh-mounted accelerometer device (activPAL3 micro; PAL Technologies Ltd., Glasgow, United Kingdom) worn continuously over 7 days; data were collected in 2016-2018. Usable data were retrieved from 83.0% of the devices fitted, with 79.6% of the sample recording at least 6 full days of wear (at least 10 waking hours). Total daily sitting time (average times were 9.5 (SD, 2.0) hours/day for men and 9.0 (SD, 2.0) hours/day for women) accounted for 59.4% and 57.3% of waking hours in men and women, respectively; 73.8% of sample participants recorded ≥8 hours/day of sitting. Sitting in prolonged bouts of 60 continuous minutes or more accounted for 25.3% and 24.4% of total daily sitting in men and women, respectively. In mutually adjusted models, male sex, underweight, obesity, education, poor self-rated health, television-viewing time, and having a sedentary occupation were associated with higher device-measured sitting times. Thigh-worn accelerometry was feasibly deployed and should be considered for larger-scale national surveys.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)963-971
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number9
Early online date27 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020


  • Physical activity
  • Cohort studies
  • Sitting
  • Lifestyle
  • Population studies
  • Sedentary time
  • Wearable devices

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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