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

M. McLaughlin, A. J. Atkin, L. Starr, A. Hall, L. Wolfenden, R. Sutherland, J. Wiggers, A. Ramirez, P. Hallal, M. Pratt, B. M. Lynch, K. Wijndaele, Saiful Adli, Paul A. Gardiner, Ciaran B. Doyle, Angela Meadows, Ruth M. Mabry, Alberto Florez Pregonero, Kabir P. Sadarangani, Nyssa T. HadgraftTerry Boyle, Nicolas Aguilar Farias, Jacqueline L. Mair, Siosaia F. Hafoka, Gregore Iven Mielke, Selina Khoo Phaik Lin, Vienna R. McLeod, Chathuranga Ranasinghe, Paul C. Storning, Ing Mari Dohrn, Falk Müller-Riemenschnieder, Lyutha Al Subhi, Anne Chu Hin Yee, Mayuri Gad, Adilson Marques, Elli Kontostoli

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


Background: 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. Methods: 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. Results: 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). Conclusions: 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. Trial registration: Not applicable.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 3 Sept 2020


  • Sedentary behaviour
  • Sitting time
  • Surveillance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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