Positive and negative well-being and objectively measured sedentary behaviour in older adults: evidence from three cohorts

Judith A. Okely, Iva Cukic, Richard J. Shaw, Sebastien F. Chastin, Philippa M. Dall, Ian J. Deary, Geoff Der, Manon L. Dontje, Dawn A. Skelton, Catharine R. Gale, Seniors USP Team

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Background: Sedentary behaviour is related to poorer health independently of time spent in moderate to vigorous physical activity. The aim of this study was to investigate whether wellbeing or symptoms of anxiety or depression predict sedentary behaviour in older adults. Method: Participants were drawn from the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936 (LBC1936) (n = 271), and the West of Scotland Twenty-07 1950s (n = 309) and 1930s (n = 118) cohorts. Sedentary outcomes, sedentary time, and number of sit-to-stand transitions, were measured with a three-dimensional accelerometer (activPAL activity monitor) worn for 7 days. In the Twenty-07 cohorts, symptoms of anxiety and depression were assessed in 2008 and sedentary outcomes were assessed ~ 8 years later in 2015 and 2016. In the LBC1936 cohort, wellbeing and symptoms of anxiety and depression were assessed concurrently with sedentary behaviour in 2015 and 2016. We tested for an association between wellbeing, anxiety or depression and the sedentary outcomes using multivariate regression analysis. Results: We observed no association between wellbeing or symptoms of anxiety and the sedentary outcomes. Symptoms of depression were positively associated with sedentary time in the LBC1936 and Twenty-07 1950s cohort, and negatively associated with number of sit-to-stand transitions in the LBC1936. Meta-analytic estimates of the association between depressive symptoms and sedentary time or number of sit-to-stand transitions, adjusted for age, sex, BMI, long-standing illness, and education, were β = 0.11 (95% CI = 0.03, 0.18) and β = - 0.11 (95% CI = - 0.19, -0.03) respectively. Conclusion: Our findings indicate that depressive symptoms are positively associated with sedentary behavior. Future studies should investigate the causal direction of this association.
Original languageEnglish
Article number28
Number of pages10
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jan 2019


  • wellbeing
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • sedentary behaviour
  • tri-axial inclinometer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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