Temporal dynamics of sitting behavior at work

Pam Ten Broeke*, Merlijn Olthof, Debby G J Beckers, Nicola D Hopkins, Lee E F Graves, Sophie E Carter, Madeleine Cochrane, David Gavin, Abigail S Morris, Anna Lichtwarck-Aschoff, Sabine A E Geurts, Dick H J Thijssen, Erik Bijleveld

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
82 Downloads (Pure)


Sitting for prolonged periods of time impairs people's health. Prior research has mainly investigated sitting behavior on an aggregate level, for example, by analyzing total sitting time per day. By contrast, taking a dynamic approach, here we conceptualize sitting behavior as a continuous chain of sit-to-stand and stand-to-sit transitions. We use multilevel time-to-event analysis to analyze the timing of these transitions. We analyze ∼30,000 objectively measured posture transitions from 156 people during work time. Results indicate that the temporal dynamics of sit-to-stand transitions differ from stand-to-sit transitions, and that people are quicker to switch postures later in the workday, and quicker to stand up after having been more active in the recent hours. We found no evidence for associations with physical fitness. Altogether, these findings provide insights into the origins of people's stand-up and sit-down decisions, show that sitting behavior is fundamentally different from exercise behavior, and provide pointers for the development of interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14883-14889
Number of pages7
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number26
Early online date15 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2020

Structured keywords

  • HEB


  • sedentary behavior
  • occupational health
  • fatigue
  • survival analysis
  • time-to-event analysis


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