Sitting ducks: Exploring the role of sedentary behaviour on chronic disease prevalence in masters athletes and chess players


Sedentary activity is an important correlate of physical health. However, little is known about sedentary behaviour among older adults who are competitively involved in other types of activities (e.g., sport). This may be crucial since Masters Athletes have been proposed as ideal models of aging. Our previous work has also suggested this label could be expanded to include other forms of intense engagement; for example, both older athletes and competitive chess players report lower prevalence of chronic disease compared to the general population. Although, prior to advocating sport as an optimal activity to maintain health, it is important to understand the relation between active engagement and sedentary activity on the prevalence of chronic disease. To this end, we compared sedentary behaviour of Masters Athletes (N=69), chess players (N=44), with moderately active (N=64) and inactive (N=62) older adults from a Canadian normative dataset. Preliminary results indicated a significant correlation between type of activity and chronic disease (F=7.45, p<0.0001), but not for sedentary behaviour (F=0.99, p=0.37). In addition, there was no interaction between sedentary behaviour and type of activity (F=0.95, p=0.44). Interestingly, amount of sedentary time did not significantly influence chronic disease prevalence in Masters Athletes (M=0.20, SD=0.53), chess players (M=0.48, SD=0.79) and moderately activity (M=1.33, SD=1.27) older adults; however, there was significant difference (p<0.05) between inactive adults who reported low (M=0.87, SD=1.18) compared to high (M=1.62, SD=1.61) amounts of sedentary activity. Findings from this study suggest engagement may be beneficial in mitigating chronic disease apart from links to sedentary time.