Researchers to present physical inactivity research plan to Europe

13 May 2015

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) researchers are to capture expertise from across 12 European countries on what makes people physically inactive from childhood to later life, for a unique report for the European Commission which will prioritise and plan future research at a policy level.

Sedentary behaviour, where sitting or lying is the dominant mode of posture and energy expenditure is very low, is now recognised as the largest reservoir of physical inactivity and a risk factor for health and well-being. 

Reducing sedentary behaviour is a public health challenge internationally. Currently there is disparate and limited knowledge about its determinants across the life course to inform interventions.

GCU will host an international workshop on June 8 and 9 to bring together epidemiologist, psychologist, clinicians, economist, rehabilitation, life, health, behavioural and social scientists to discuss the interaction between biological, psychological, sociological, economic, ecological, and socio-economic factors that determine sedentary behaviour.  

The conference objective is to finalise a consensus framework for research on determinants of sedentary behaviour across the life course. The meeting will be held as part of the European Knowledge hub on Determinants of Diet and Physical Activity (www.dedipac.eu) 

The researchers will look at several systematic reviews mapping the current evidence to produce the framework. It is anticipated that this will be published in a peer-reviewed article, written by the DEDIPAC team led by Dr Sebastien Chastin.

At GCU, researchers have expertise in active ageing and physical activity/inactivity in older adults and sedentary behaviour after stroke.

The conference has been organised by Dr Chastin, who has brought together experts in behavioural epidemiology, children, psychology and behaviour in the workplace.

Dr Chastin said: “DEDIPAC is the first project of this size geared to assemble the collective thinking of all major experts in Europe and available data to tackle in a concerted and unified way the factors that lead people toward unhealthy lifestyles. It is all very well doing research in an area but by guiding the international research priorities through an impact on policy, we are ahead of the game.”

Professor Dawn Skelton, Professor of Ageing and Health at GCU leads research on the effect of physical activity, sedentary behaviour and exercise on syndromes and conditions of ageing. She was a member of the expert group which wrote the UK physical activity guidelines for older adults.

She joins experts including Harry Rutter from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Public Health England, and Neville Owen, Head of the Behavioural Epidemiology Laboratory at Baker IDI.

In December 2013, the European Commission established the European knowledge hub (KH) about the Determinants of Diet and Physical Activity (DEDIPAC www.dedipac.eu) as part of the Joint Programme Initiative on a Healthy diet for a Healthy Life.

In 2014/15, 46 research centres across 12 European countries have been working on developing these frameworks. The first steps were to develop a methodology to capture the multidisciplinary expertise available and combine it with the current evidence base, while developing a common semantic across all disciplines.

This workshop is the final step in this process and a major milestone in capturing international and multidisciplinary expertise and opinion about the determinants of sedentary behaviour across the life course.