Patterns of sitting and mortality in the Nord-Trøndelag health study (HUNT)

Anne C. Grunseit*, Josephine Y. Chau, Vegar Rangul, Turid Lingaas Holmen, Adrian Bauman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
23 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Current evidence concerning sedentary behaviour and mortality risk has used single time point assessments of sitting. Little is known about how changes in sitting levels over time affect subsequent mortality risk. Aim: To examine the associations between patterns of sitting time assessed at two time points 11 years apart and risk of all-cause and cardio-metabolic disease mortality. Methods: Participants were 25,651 adults aged > =20 years old from the Nord-Trøndelag Health Study with self-reported total sitting time in 1995-1997 (HUNT2) and 2006-2008 (HUNT3). Four categories characterised patterns of sitting: (1) low at HUNT2/ low at HUNT3, 'consistently low sitting'; (2) low at HUNT2/high at HUNT3, 'increased sitting'; (3) high at HUNT2/low at HUNT3, 'reduced sitting'; and (4) high at HUNT2 /high at HUNT3, 'consistently high sitting'. Associations of sitting pattern with all-cause and cardio-metabolic disease mortality were analysed using Cox regression adjusted for confounders. Results: Mean follow-up was 6.2 years (158880 person-years); 1212 participants died. Compared to 'consistently low sitting', adjusted hazard ratios for all-cause mortality were 1.51 (95% CI: 1.28-2.78), 1.03 (95% CI: 0.88-1.20), and 1.26 (95% CI: 1.06-1.51) for 'increased sitting', 'reduced sitting' and 'consistently high sitting' respectively. Conclusions: Examining patterns of sitting over time augments single time-point analyses of risk exposures associated with high sitting time. Whilst sitting habits can be stable over a long period, life events (e.g., changing jobs, retiring or illness) may influence sitting trajectories and therefore sitting-attributable risk. Reducing sitting may yield mortality risks comparable to a stable low-sitting pattern.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2017. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Epidemiology
  • Mortality
  • Sedentary behaviour


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