SBRN Publishes Updated Definition of Sedentary Behaviour

New York Times: Don't Just Sit There
April 30, 2012
Yahoo! News: Long commutes linked to larger waistlines
May 8, 2012


Earlier today, the Sedentary Behaviour Research Network published an updated definition of the terms “sedentary” and “sedentary behaviour” in French and English in the journals Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism and Movement & Sport Sciences – Science & Motricité.  

The letter was created in response to confusion regarding the usage of the above terms in the published literature, and was signed by 52 individual SBRN members, including many of the most prominent researchers in the field.  It takes into account several factors including energy expenditure, posture, and whether or not a person is awake.

Thanks to the many individuals who contributed to the drafting and revising of the letter, and to Drs Gilles Thoni and Jean-Philippe Chaput for translating the letter into French.

Here is the definition of sedentary behaviour, as proposed by the SBRN membership:

We suggest that journals formally define sedentary behaviour as any waking behaviour characterized by an energy expenditure ≤1.5 METs while in a sitting or reclining posture. In contrast, we suggest that authors use the term “inactive” to describe those who are performing insufficient amounts of MVPA (i.e., not meeting specified physical activity guidelines).

Nous suggérons que les revues définissent de façon formelle le comportement sédentaire comme une situation d’éveil caractérisée par une dépense énergétique ≤1,5 METs en position assise ou allongée. En revanche, nous suggérons que les auteurs utilisent le terme « inactif » pour décrire les individus ayant un niveau insuffisant d’activité physique d’intensité modérée à intense (MVPA), c’est-à-dire, n’atteignant pas le seuil d’activité physique recommandé.

You can also access the full letter at the following links: English Letter / French Letter.

We are encouraging organizations working in this area to adopt this new common definition. In fact, the definition has already been endorsed by the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology and La Société Française des Professionnels en Activités Physiques Adaptées.  Please cite the letter when defining sedentary behaviour in your papers, and please distribute it to other individuals who may find it useful.  Finally, please refer people to this definition when acting as a peer reviewer.

The definition can be cited as:

Sedentary Behaviour Research Network. 2012. Standardized use of the terms “sedentary” and “sedentary behaviours”.  Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 37: 540–542.
Réseau de Recherche sur le Comportement Sédentaire. 2012. Utilisation standardisée des termes « sédentarité » et « comportements sédentaires ». Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 37 : 543–545.

1 Comment

  1. […] Nutrition and Metabolism Joel | November 25, 2012 | 0 Comments Earlier this year, SBRN published an updated definition of the terms “sedentary” and “sedentary behaviour” in response to confusion around the use of the terms in the published literature. […]

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