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Research Letter
December 18, 2013

Patterns of Accelerometer-Assessed Sedentary Behavior in Older Women

Author Affiliations
  • 1Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 2University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  • 3University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
  • 4Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA. 2013;310(23):2562-2563. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.278896

Recent studies suggest a high volume of sedentary behavior may be a risk factor for adverse health outcomes.1 However, few data exist on how this behavior is patterned (eg, does most sedentary behavior occur in a few long bouts or in many short bouts?) and whether sedentary patterns are relevant for health. We examined details of sedentary behavior among older women. Because physical activity is influenced by age, body mass index (BMI; calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared), and smoking status, we further examined sedentary behavior in relation to these characteristics.

The Women’s Health Study is a completed randomized trial (1992-2004) of aspirin and vitamin E for preventing cardiovascular disease and cancer among 39 876 healthy women throughout the United States, with continuing observational follow-up (2004-present).2 An observational ancillary study, begun in 2011, is assessing physical activity using accelerometers. This cross-sectional study included all women who returned the accelerometer by March 2013. Women provided written consent to participate and the study was approved by the institutional review board of Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Women were mailed an accelerometer (ActiGraph GT3X+, ActiGraph Corp) and detailed instructions and were asked to wear it for 7 days during waking hours. They also completed a wear time diary, indicating which days the monitor was worn.