OBJECTIVE: To examine trends in adult sitting time across 27 European countries.
METHOD: Data were from the Eurobarometer surveys collected in 2002, 2005, and 2013. Sitting time data were used to categorise respondents into 'low' (0 to 4h30min), 'middle' (4h31min to 7h30min), and 'high' levels of sitting (>7h30min). We modelled the likelihood of being in the high sitting group within a given country and overall across the three time points, controlling for age, gender, education, employment status, and physical activity.
RESULTS: In total 17 countries had sitting data at all three time points; among these countries the prevalence of 'high sitting' decreased steadily from 23.1% (95% CI=22.2-24.1) in 2002 to 21.8% (95% CI=20.8-22.8) in 2005, and 17.8% (95% CI=16.9-18.7) in 2013. A further 10 countries had data only over the latter two time points; among these countries the prevalence of high sitting decreased from 27.7% (95% CI=26.0-29.4) in 2005 to 19.0% (95% CI=17.6-20.5) in 2013.
CONCLUSION: Time spent in sedentary behaviour may not be increasing in the European region, and prolonged sitting may, in fact, be decreasing. This finding has important implications for the sedentary behaviour debate and the policy response.