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How to reduce sitting time? A review of behaviour change strategies used in sedentary behaviour reduction interventions among adults

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journal contribution
posted on 2015-10-22, 10:16 authored by Benjamin Gardner, Lee Smith, Fabiana Lorencatto, Mark Hamer, Stuart J.H. Biddle
Sedentary behaviour – i.e., low energy-expending waking behaviour while seated or lying down – is a health risk factor, even when controlling for physical activity. This review sought to describe the behaviour change strategies used within interventions that have sought to reduce sedentary behaviour in adults. Studies were identified through existing literature reviews, a systematic database search, and handsearches of eligible papers. Interventions were categorised as ‘very promising’, ‘quite promising’, or ‘non-promising’ according to observed behaviour changes. Intervention functions and behaviour change techniques were compared across promising and non-promising interventions. Twenty-six eligible studies reported thirty-eight interventions, of which twenty (53%) were worksite-based. Fifteen interventions (39%) were very promising, eight quite promising (21%), and fifteen non-promising (39%). Very or quite promising interventions tended to have targeted sedentary behaviour instead of physical activity. Interventions based on environmental restructuring, persuasion, or education were most promising. Self-monitoring, problem solving, and restructuring the social or physical environment were particularly promising behaviour change techniques. Future sedentary reduction interventions might most fruitfully incorporate environmental modification and self-regulatory skills training. The evidence base is, however, weakened by low-quality evaluation methods; more RCTs, employing no-treatment control groups, and collecting objective data are needed.


This project was supported by a grant from the National Prevention Research Initiative (MR/J000396/2; see http://www.mrc.ac.uk/research/initiatives/national-prevention-researchinitiative-npri/).



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

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Health Psychology Review


GARDNER, B. ...et al., 2015. How to reduce sitting time? A review of behaviour change strategies used in sedentary behaviour reduction interventions among adults. Health Psychology Review.


© 2015 The Author(s). Published by Taylor & Francis


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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/ by/4.0/

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This is an Open Access Article. It is published by Taylor and Francis under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported Licence (CC BY). Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/