Research Study Abstract

Empirically derived cut-points for sedentary behaviour: are we sitting differently?

  • Published on Sep 21, 2016

Sedentary behaviour (SB) is associated with a number of adverse health outcomes. Studies that have used ActiGraph monitors to define sedentary time tend to use a threshold of  <100 counts per minute (cpm) for classifying SB; however, this cut-point was not empirically derived for adults. It is not known whether ActiGraph cut-points for SB differ depending on the context in which it occurs. We aimed to: (1) empirically derive an optimal threshold for classifying SB, using the cpm output from the ActiGraph GT3X+, compared to the sedentary classification from the activPAL3™; and (2) ascertain whether this varied by day of the week and in working time versus non-working time.

A convenience sample of 30 office-based university employees (females (66.67%); age 40.47  ±  10.95 years; BMI 23.93  ±  2.46 kg m−2) wore the ActiGraph GT3X+ and activPAL3™ devices simultaneously for seven days. Data were downloaded in 1 min epochs and non-wear time was removed. Generalised estimating equations were used to make minute by minute comparisons of sedentary time from the two devices, using sedentary minutes (when all 60 s were classified as sitting/lying) from the activPAL3™ as the criterion measure.

After data reduction participants provided on average 11 h 27 min of data per day. The derived cut-points from the models were significantly higher on a Saturday (97 cpm) compared to weekdays (60 cpm) and Sunday (57 cpm). Derived cpm for sedentary time during working time were significantly lower compared to non-working time (35 (95%CI 30–41) versus 73 (54–113)). Compared to the 100 cpm and 150 cpm thresholds, the empirically derived cut-points were not significantly different in terms of area-under-the-curve, but had lower mean bias for working and non-working times.

Accelerometer cut-points for SB can depend on day and also domain, suggesting that the nature of sitting differs depending on the context in which sedentary time is accrued.


Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine