New study suggests using sedentary behavior counseling in primary care

October 22, 2012 by Jade Waddy

(Medical Xpress)—Although primary care physicians take care of many aspects of health and disease, little is known about how they can change sedentary behavior through counseling, according to researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). Results from a new study suggest encouraging patients to decrease the time they spend sitting each day may be feasible in the primary care setting.

"Reducing sedentary time can be done by virtually everyone and requires smaller changes in than meeting physical activity guidelines, which usually entails a complex behavior change particularly for inactive patients," said Kerem Shuval, Ph.D., principal investigator and assistant professor of epidemiology at The University of Texas School of Public Health Dallas Regional Campus, part of UTHealth. "Reducing sedentary time helps promote health and can play a major role in modifying their patients' , particularly because adults spend many of their waking hours each day sitting or in passive leisure activities."

Results were recently published online in the .

Unlike physical activity counseling, which has been investigated over the years, sedentary behavior counseling is a new term used in this study to describe a dialogue with a patient about the harmful effects of prolonged uninterrupted sitting. The average amount of time spent sitting or reclining during in the United States is almost 8hours per day, according to data from the National Health and .

In this study, Shuval and his colleagues asked adult primary care patients whether their providers asked, advised and encouraged them to modify their physical activity and sedentary behavior in the past year. The "5A" (ask, advise, agree, assist and arrange) framework was used to examine these questions.

Study results indicated that within the last year, only 10 percent of patients received sedentary behavior counseling compared to 53 percent who received physical activity counseling. No patients received a plan pertaining to decreasing sedentary behavior; however, 14 percent were provided with a written plan for increasing physical activity. More social support and specific strategies for were provided as it relates to increasing than decreasing sedentary behavior. Obese patients were more likely to receive counseling to decrease their sitting time.

"Accumulating evidence has found prolonged sitting to be associated with increased risk for chronic diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes as well as premature death," said Shuval, who is also an adjunct professor at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (UT Southwestern) and a member of the Harold C. Simmons Cancer Center at UT Southwestern.

Sedentary behavior has emerged as a new field of scientific investigation due to the detrimental health effects of prolonged sitting, according to Shuval. A number of studies have begun to explore the impact of interventions specifically focused on reducing and breaking up sedentary time.

"Our study provides initial insight into sedentary behavior counseling practices in the setting," said Shuval. "Additional research is needed prior to developing programs to change patients' sedentary behavior." Several countries have already begun to provide general recommendations to decrease sedentary time.

Explore further: New study addresses barriers to physical activity counseling

Related Stories

New study addresses barriers to physical activity counseling

June 19, 2012
Lack of time, knowledge and training in health promotion and lack of success with changing patient behavior were among the top barriers to including effective physical activity counseling in the primary care setting, according ...

Too much sitting is bad for your health

July 12, 2011
Lack of physical exercise is often implicated in many disease processes. However, sedentary behavior, or too much sitting, as distinct from too little exercise, potentially could be a new risk factor for disease. The August ...

Diabetes risk for elderly couch potatoes in Australia

July 24, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- Australians aged 60 and over spend more time watching TV than other adults and are at greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes, a new study from The University of Queensland has found.

Spending more time physically active associated with better cardiometabolic measures among children

February 14, 2012
In a study that included data for more than 20,000 children and adolescents, higher amounts of time with moderate to vigorous physical activity were associated with better cardiometabolic risk factors (such as measures of ...

Study examines use of mobile technology to improve diet, physical activity behavior

May 28, 2012
A new study, supported in part by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health, suggests that a combination of mobile technology and remote coaching holds promise in encouraging ...

Recommended for you

Parents have critical role in preventing teen drinking

July 20, 2017
Fewer teenagers are drinking alcohol but more needs to be done to curb the drinking habits of Australian school students, based on the findings of the latest study by Adelaide researchers.

Aging Americans enjoy longer life, better health when avoiding three risky behaviors

July 20, 2017
We've heard it before from our doctors and other health experts: Keep your weight down, don't smoke and cut back on the alcohol if you want to live longer.

Fresh fish oil lowers diabetes risk in rat offspring

July 19, 2017
Fresh fish oil given to overweight pregnant rats prevented their offspring from developing a major diabetes risk factor, Auckland researchers have found.

High-dose vitamin D doesn't appear to reduce the winter sniffles for children

July 18, 2017
Giving children high doses of vitamin D doesn't appear to reduce the winter sniffles, a new study has found.

Scientists develop new supplement that can repair, rejuvenate muscles in older adults

July 18, 2017
Whey protein supplements aren't just for gym buffs according to new research from McMaster university. When taken on a regular basis, a combination of these and other ingredients in a ready-to-drink formula have been found ...

Study: Eating at 'wrong time' affects body weight, circadian rhythms

July 18, 2017
A new high-precision feeding system for lab mice reinforces the idea that the time of day food is eaten is more critical to weight loss than the amount of calories ingested.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.