Published Papers - Abstract 499

van Uffelen J, Heesch K, Hill R & Brown W. , 2010; : 64

Introduction: There is emerging evidence that sedentary behaviour (i.e. time spent sitting) may be negatively associated with health, independently from participation in physical activity (PA) and exercise. While questions to assess time spent sitting are included in PA surveillance, little is known about people’s understanding of these questions. The aim of this study was to document older adults’ understanding of sitting time questions from the International PA Questionnaire (IPAQ) and the Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly (PASE).Methods: Participants were 55 Australian community-dwelling adults aged 65–89 years. They each completed the IPAQ and PASE in a face-to-face semi-structured interview. Both surveys assess sitting in the last 7 days, but in a different format. The IPAQ uses an open-ended question to assess time spent sitting. The PASE asks for the number of days spent in sitting activities in the past week (never, 1–2 days, 3–4 days, or 5–7 days), the activities done (open-ended), and the hours per day spent doing these activities (< 1 hour, 1–<2 hours, 2–<4 hrs, or >4 hours). Participants answered these questions using the “think-aloud” method, in which they expressed their thoughts out loud as they formulated their answers. They were then probed about their responses. Interviews were recorded, transcribed and coded into themes.Results: Mean age of the 27 male and 28 female participants was 73 yrs (SD = 6, range 65–89 years. Participants were unclear what sitting activities to include in their answers to the sitting questions. For example, some participants wondered if “cycling” should be included in their answer. Participants used a variety of strategies to respond, for example subtracting the time they spent being physically active from a 24 hour day. These strategies differed from those used to answer questions about PA and exercise. For some participants, the IPAQ sitting question was too difficult to answer. In general, participants preferred to chose one of the predefined answer formats in PASE over the IPAQ open-ended sitting time question.Conclusions: We suggest instructions be added to the questionnaires on an appropriate strategy for answering sitting time questions.