Sitting time and associated factors among Portuguese older adults: results from Nutrition UP 65

  • Ana Sofia Sousa
  • Joana MendesEmail author
  • Rita S. Guerra
  • Patrícia Padrão
  • Pedro Moreira
  • Alejandro Santos
  • Nuno Borges
  • Cláudia Afonso
  • Cátia Martins
  • Graça Ferro
  • Teresa F. Amaral
Original Investigation


Older adults are particularly susceptible to sedentary behaviours. Sitting time has been increasingly referred to as a potentially modifiable risk factor in the prevention of chronic diseases. Identifying factors associated with sitting time, particularly those that are modifiable, will allow for more effective public health strategies. This study aimed to describe sitting time among Portuguese older adults and to evaluate associated factors. A cross-sectional study including 1423 older adults ≥ 65 years old was conducted. Sitting time was assessed with the International Physical Activity Questionnaire. Socio-demographic, health, anthropometric and functional variables were collected. Bivariate and multivariate linear regression models were conducted to study the association between these variables and sitting time. The median of sitting time was 300 min/day (interquartile range = 240 min/day), which is equal to 5 h/day. The following factors were directly associated with longer sitting time: being male, age ≥ 80 years, living in Central or Southern Portugal, being retired from work, as well as presenting low physical activity, obesity or longer time to walk 4.6 metres. On the other hand, being married, having higher education and higher household income were inversely associated with longer sitting time. It can be concluded that Portuguese older adults spend a considerable amount of time sitting per day. Potentially modifiable risk factors associated with longer sitting time in this population were related to nutritional status and functional ability.


Healthy lifestyle Older adults Sedentary behaviour Time to walk 



Nutrition UP 65 is 85% funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through European Economic Area (EEA) Grants (Grant No. PT06) and 15% by Faculdade de Ciências da Nutrição e Alimentação, Universidade do Porto. Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway sponsor initiatives and projects in various program areas, primarily focusing on reducing economic and social disparities. The European Economic Area Grants are managed by Administração Central do Sistema de Saúde through the Programa Iniciativas em Saúde Pública.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ana Sofia Sousa
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Joana Mendes
    • 1
    • 4
    • 5
    Email author
  • Rita S. Guerra
    • 1
    • 2
    • 6
  • Patrícia Padrão
    • 1
    • 7
  • Pedro Moreira
    • 1
    • 7
    • 8
  • Alejandro Santos
    • 1
    • 5
  • Nuno Borges
    • 1
    • 9
  • Cláudia Afonso
    • 1
    • 7
  • Cátia Martins
    • 10
  • Graça Ferro
    • 11
  • Teresa F. Amaral
    • 1
    • 6
  1. 1.Faculty of Nutrition and Food ScienceUniversity of PortoPortoPortugal
  2. 2.Faculty of Health Sciences (Nutrition Sciences)Fernando Pessoa UniversityPortoPortugal
  3. 3.ciTechCare - Center for Innovative Care and Health TechnologyIP LeiriaLeiriaPortugal
  4. 4.Department of Biomedicine, Biochemistry Unit, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of PortoPortoPortugal
  5. 5.I3S - Institute for Research and Innovation in HealthUniversity of PortoPortoPortugal
  6. 6.UISPA-IDMEC, Faculty of EngineeringUniversity of PortoPortoPortugal
  7. 7.EPIUnit, Institute of Public HealthUniversity of PortoPortoPortugal
  8. 8.The Research Centre in Physical Activity, Health and LeisureUniversity of PortoPortoPortugal
  9. 9.CINTESIS - Centre for Health Technology and Services ResearchPortoPortugal
  10. 10.Obesity Research Group, Department of Cancer Research and Molecular MedicineNorwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)TrondheimNorway
  11. 11.Alto Minho Local Health UnitEPEViana do CasteloPortugal

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