Worldwide surveillance of self-reported sitting time: a scoping review

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A new paper titled “Worldwide surveillance of self-reported sitting time: a scoping review” was just published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. The full-text article is available here (open access). Citation details and a summary of the paper are below.

Mclaughlin, M., Atkin, A.J., Starr, L. et al. Worldwide surveillance of self-reported sitting time: a scoping review. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 17, 111 (2020).



Prolonged sitting time is a risk factor for chronic disease, yet recent global surveillance is not well described. The aims were to clarify: (i) the countries that have collected country-level data on self-reported sitting time; (ii) the single-item tools used to collect these data; and (iii) the duration of sitting time reported across low- to high-income countries.


Country-level data collected within the last 10 years using single-item self-report were included. The six-stage methodology: (1) reviewing Global Observatory for Physical Activity! Country Cards; (2–4) country-specific searches of PubMed, the Demographic and Health Survey website and Google; (5) analysing the Eurobarometer 88.4; and (6) country-specific searches for World Health Organization STEPwise reports.


A total of 7641 records were identified and screened for eligibility. Sixty-two countries (29%) reported sitting time representing 47% of the global adult population. The majority of data were from high-income (61%) and middle income (29%) countries. The tools used were the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ; n = 34), a modified IPAQ (n = 1) or the Global Physical Activity Questionnaire (GPAQ; n = 27). The median of mean daily sitting times was 4.7 (IQR: 3.5–5.1) hours across all countries. Higher-income countries recorded a longer duration of sitting time than lower-income countries (4.9 vs 2.7 h).


This study provides an updated collation of countries collecting self-reported sitting time data. The daily sitting time findings should be interpreted cautiously. Current surveillance of sitting time is limited by a lack of coverage. Measures of population sitting time that are valid, feasible and sensitive to change should be embedded within global surveillance systems, to help guide future policy, research and practice.


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