Factors influencing sedentary behaviour in older adults: An ecological approach


Older adults represent one of the most sedentary populations worldwide, and as a result are at risk of negative health outcomes. Knowledge translation tools and public health promotion strategies are needed; however, little evidence is available to inform framing of such tools or development of intervention programs. Using Owen et al.'s (2011) ecological model, the current study examined the four sedentary behaviour domains; household, transport, leisure time and occupation with participants drawn from community seniors centres. The participants (n=26, 74±8.5 years) were involved in a range of sedentary and physical activities at the centres. Four focus groups were conducted to examine perceptions of sedentary behaviour, the range of activities participated in, factors influencing participation etc. Two dominant themes emerged, barriers and promoters of sedentary behaviour and these were further delineated into intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Results were synthesized to develop appropriate messaging and greater uptake of programming and guidelines thereby informing public health strategies. For example, in order to develop successful programs to combat sedentary behaviours the program should include both a social component and a mentally stimulating component, as these were identified for enjoyment and motivation. In conclusion the results clearly supported that sedentary time reduction strategies will need to consider each of the four domains in which older adults accumulate sedentary time.

Acknowledgments: UOIT Internal Funding