Research Study Abstract

Seasonal variation in physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep in a sample of UK adults

  • Published on January 2014

Background Physical activity (PA), sedentary behaviour (SB), sleep and diet have all been associated with increased risk for chronic disease. Seasonality is often overlooked as a determinant of these behaviours in adults. Currently, no study has simultaneously monitored these behaviours in UK adults to assess seasonal variation.

Aim The present study investigated whether PA, SB, sleep and diet differed over season in UK adults.

Subjects and Methods Forty-six adults (72% female; age = 41.7 ± 14.4 years, BMI = 24.9 ± 4.4 kg/m(2)) completed four 7-day monitoring periods; one during each season of the year. The ActiGraph GT1M was used to monitor PA and SB. Daily sleep diaries monitored time spent in bed (TIB) and total sleep time (TST). The European Prospective Investigation of Cancer (EPIC) food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) assessed diet. Repeated measures ANOVAs were used to identify seasonal differences in behaviours.

Results Light-intensity PA was significantly higher in summer and spring (p < 0.001). SB and TIB were significantly higher in winter (p < 0.01). There were no seasonal variations detected in moderate-vigorous PA, TST or diet (p > 0.05).

Conclusions Findings support the concept that health promotion campaigns need to encourage year-round participation in light intensity PA, whilst limiting SB, particularly during the winter months.


Annals of Human Biology


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