Sedentary Behavior in U.S. Adults: Fall 2019

Charles E. Matthews, Susan A. Carlson, Pedro F. Saint-Maurice, Shreya Patel, Elizabeth A. Salerno, Erikka Loftfield, Richard P. Troiano, Janet E. Fulton, Joshua N. Sampson, Calvin Tribby, Sarah K. Keadle, David Berrigan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: Higher levels of sedentary behavior are associated with early mortality, but the distribution of sedentary time by classes of behavior and demographic groups is poorly described in U.S. adults. To quantify the amount and sources of sedentary time in U.S. adults, we conducted a nationwide survey using a novel validated self-administered previous-day recall method and compared these values with a commonly used sitting time question. METHODS: Participants from the AmeriSpeak panel 20 to 75 yr of age (N = 2640) completed up to two activities completed over time in 24 h (ACT24) previous-day recalls. Recalls were conducted on randomly selected days in October and November 2019. Survey sample designs were applied to reflect the U.S. population. RESULTS: Mean age was 45.3 yr, 51% were female, 67% non-Hispanic White, and 37% had a body mass index of ≥30 kg·m-2. U.S. adults reported a mean 9.5 h·d-1 of sedentary time (95% confidence interval = 9.4, 9.7 h·d-1), which was 34% more than reported using a common surveillance measure (P < 0.01). Most daily sedentary time was accumulated in the leisure and work life domains, with leisure accounting for 47% (4.3 h·d-1, 95% confidence interval = 4.2, 4.5 h·d-1) of the total sedentary time. Eighty-two percent of leisure time was spent sedentary, mainly watching television/videos or engaged in Internet/computer use. CONCLUSIONS: U.S. adults appear to spend more time in sedentary behavior than previously thought, and the majority of this time is accumulated at work and in leisure time. Reducing sedentary screen time during leisure in favor of physically active could be an important intervention target in the effort to increase physical activity in U.S. adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2512-2519
Number of pages8
JournalMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021


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