A qualitative study of older adults' responses to sitting-time questions: do we get the information we want?

van Uffelen, Jannique G. Z.; Heesch, Kristiann C.; Hill, Robert L.; Brown, Wendy J.
January 2011
BMC Public Health;2011, Vol. 11 Issue 1, p458
Academic Journal
Background: In the last decade, there has been increasing interest in the health effects of sedentary behavior, which is often assessed using self-report sitting-time questions. The aim of this qualitative study was to document older adults' understanding of sitting-time questions from the International Physical Activity (PA) Questionnaire (IPAQ) and the PA Scale for the Elderly (PASE). Methods: Australian community-dwelling adults aged 65+ years answered the IPAQ and PASE sitting questions in face-to-face semi-structured interviews. IPAQ uses one open-ended question to assess sitting on a weekday in the last 7 days 'at work, at home, while doing coursework and during leisure time'; PASE uses a three-part closed question about daily leisure-time sitting in the last 7 days. Participants expressed their thoughts out loud while answering each question. They were then probed about their responses. Interviews were recorded, transcribed and coded into themes. Results: Mean age of the 28 male and 27 female participants was 73 years (range 65-89). The most frequently reported activity was watching TV. For both questionnaires, many participants had difficulties understanding what activities to report. Some had difficulty understanding what activities should be classified as 'leisure-time sitting'. Some assumed they were being asked to only report activities provided as examples. Most reported activities they normally do, rather than those performed on a day in the previous week. Participants used a variety of strategies to select 'a day' for which they reported their sitting activities and to calculate sitting time on that day. Therefore, many different ways of estimating sitting time were used. Participants had particular difficulty reporting their daily sitting-time when their schedules were not consistent across days. Some participants declared the IPAQ sitting question too difficult to answer. Conclusion: The accuracy of older adults' self-reported sitting time is questionable given the challenges they have in answering sitting-time questions. Their responses to sitting-time questions may be more accurate if our recommendations for clarifying the sitting domains, providing examples relevant to older adults and suggesting strategies for formulating responses are incorporated. Future quantitative studies should include objective criterion measures to assess validity and reliability of these questions.


Related Articles

  • Physical inactivity and associated factors in older adults in South Africa. Peltzer, Karl; Phaswana-Mafuya, Nancy // African Journal for Physical, Health Education, Recreation & Dan;Sep2012, Vol. 18 Issue 3, p447 

    Physical inactivity is associated with increased morbidity and mortality and is a key component of healthy aging. There is little research on physical activity and associated factors among older adults in Africa. Therefore, the study aims to investigate the prevalence and associated factors of...

  • Diurnal patterns of objectively measured physical activity and sedentary behaviour in older men. Sartini, Claudio; Goya Wannamethee, S.; Iliffe, Steve; Morris, Richard W.; Ash, Sarah; Lennon, Lucy; Whincup, Peter H.; Jefferis, Barbara J. // BMC Public Health;Jul2015, Vol. 15 Issue 1, p1 

    Background: Physical activity (PA) levels among older adults are generally low and sedentary behaviour (SB) very common; increasing PA and reducing SB levels could have appreciable health benefits. Quantifying PA and SB patterns through the day could help in defining strategies for change. We...

  • Light Intensity Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior in Relation to Body Mass Index and Grip Strength in Older Adults: Cross-Sectional Findings from the Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders (LIFE) Study. Bann, David; Hire, Don; Manini, Todd; Cooper, Rachel; Botoseneanu, Anda; McDermott, Mary M.; Pahor, Marco; Glynn, Nancy W.; Fielding, Roger; King, Abby C.; Church, Timothy; Ambrosius, Walter T.; Gill, Thomas; null, null // PLoS ONE;Feb2015, Vol. 10 Issue 2, p1 

    Background: Identifying modifiable determinants of fat mass and muscle strength in older adults is important given their impact on physical functioning and health. Light intensity physical activity and sedentary behavior are potential determinants, but their relations to these outcomes are...

  • Volume, patterns, and types of sedentary behavior and cardio-metabolic health in children and adolescents: a cross-sectional study. Carson, Valerie; Janssen, Ian // BMC Public Health;2011 Supplement 4, Vol. 11 Issue Suppl 4, p274 

    Background: Cardio-metabolic risk factors are becoming more prevalent in children and adolescents. A lack of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity (MVPA) is an established determinant of cardio-metabolic risk factors in children and adolescents. Less is known about the relationship...

  • Patient-reported physical activity questionnaires: A systematic review of content and format.  // Health & Quality of Life Outcomes;2012, Vol. 10 Issue 1, p28 

    The article focuses on a study related to patient-reported physical activity questionnaires. It is mentioned that questionnaires were identified by a systematic literature search of electronic databases, hand searches and expert input. A qualitative analysis was conducted to assess the content...

  • What do IPAQ questions mean to older adults? Lessons from cognitive interviews. Heesch, Kristiann C.; van Uffelen, Jannique G. Z.; Robert L. Hill; Brown, Wendy J. // International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition & Physical Activit;2010, Vol. 7, p35 

    Background: Most questionnaires used for physical activity (PA) surveillance have been developed for adults aged =65 years. Given the health benefits of PA for older adults and the aging of the population, it is important to include adults aged 65+ years in PA surveillance. However, few studies...

  • Assessing physical activity in the elderly: A comparative study of most popular questionnaires. KRÓL-ZIELIŃSKA, MAGDALENA; CIEKOT, MONIKA // Trends in Sport Sciences;2015, Vol. 22 Issue 3, p133 

    Introduction. During assessing physical activity researchers often use self-reported methods which may not meet psychometric standards and can lead to false results due to the application of inaccurate or wrongly chosen tools. Vim of Study. The aim of this paper was to compile a list of most...

  • Editorial. Faulkner, John A. // Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences & Medical ;Feb2001, Vol. 56A Issue 2, pB51 

    Editorial. Focuses on the `Journal of Gerontology: Biological Sciences.' Information on Edward Masoro, the deputy editor of the journal; Status of the backlog of manuscripts at the journal; Features of `Perspectives' articles, an addition to the traditional research articles of the journal.

  • Acceptability of a theory-based sedentary behaviour reduction intervention for older adults ('On Your Feet to Earn Your Seat'). Matei, Raluca; Thuné-Boyle, Ingela; Hamer, Mark; Iliffe, Steve; Fox, Kenneth R.; Jefferis, Barbara J.; Gardner, Benjamin // BMC Public Health;Jul2015, Vol. 15 Issue 1, p1 

    Background: Adults aged 60 years and over spend most time sedentary and are the least physically active of all age groups. This early-phase study explored acceptability of a theory-based intervention to reduce sitting time and increase activity in older adults, as part of the intervention...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics