Researchers develop sedentary behaviours taxonomy project

16 December 2014

All sitting behaviours may not be a health risk

All sitting behaviours may not be a health risk

Researchers from Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) have developed an open science project to establish a labelling system to determine whether all seated activities are a health risk.

Over the last decade, reducing sedentary (sitting) behaviour has become a public health challenge internationally.

However, currently sedentary behaviour is an umbrella term that describes a cluster of behaviours where sitting or lying is the dominant mode of posture and energy expenditure is low. This covers a very broad range of behaviours which might have different impact on health and might be more or less difficult to modify.

Researchers aim to improve their understanding of the context of seated activities (e.g. eating, watching television, travelling, reading, resting) by establishing a common classification of these behaviours, and establishing which are of benefit to health rather than a risk.

Sedentary behaviours International Taxonomy (SIT) is a project which asks the public to describe represented seated activities with an online tag. The findings will establish a common taxonomy (naming and classification system) of sedentary behaviours through a consensus process.

SIT is part of the European funded project Determinants of Diet and Physical Activity (DEDIPAC).

The main objective of DEDIPAC is to understand the determinants of dietary, physical activity and sedentary behaviours and to translate this knowledge into a more effective promotion of a healthy diet and physical activity. It is a multidisciplinary consortium of scientists from 46 research centres in 12 countries across Europe.

GCU research in the area of sedentary behaviour is significant, with Professor Dawn Skelton and Dr Sebastien Chastin leading a number of research projects including Seniors USP, an MRC-funded collaborative project bringing together internationally-recognised multidisciplinary expertise in a range of areas such as active ageing, sedentary behaviour and physical activity/inactivity to collectively deliver crucial information to inform future interventions to reduce sedentary behaviour and increase physical activity in older people. 

More information about the project.