Older people can learn to spend less time sitting down

April 08, 2015

SEATTLE--"I feel lethargic when I sit all day," said Gerald Alexander, an 82-year-old retired social service worker among the 25 Group Health patients who participated in the Take Active Breaks from Sitting (TABS) pilot study. "I feel much peppier when I stand and take walks."

Retirement may be more golden if less of it is spent in a resting position. Yet older adults spend an average of 8.5 waking hours a day sitting or lying down, according to TABS study leader Dori Rosenberg, PhD, MPH, an assistant scientific investigator at Group Health Research Institute. More of this kind of time has been linked to obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and death--even if people are physically active at other times of the day.

"We're not sure whether older people can improve their health by reducing the time they spend sitting," Dr. Rosenberg said. "To prove that, we need randomized trials--and none have been done yet in older adults." As a first step toward such a trial, she conducted the TABS study, which showed that it was feasible to coach adults aged 60 and older to spend less time sitting: an average of 27 minutes less per day. They reported feeling more able to accomplish everyday tasks. And data suggested that after coaching, they also walked faster and had fewer symptoms of depression.

Health Education & Behavior published the new study's quantitative results: "The Feasibility of Reducing Sitting Time in Overweight and Obese Older Adults." And The Gerontologist published its results from interviews with participants: "Motivators and Barriers to Reducing Sedentary Behavior Among Overweight and Obese Older Adults."

How coaching worked

In the TABS study, health coaches talked by phone with each participant five times during eight weeks. The coaches used motivational interviewing to engage participants in setting personalized goals to sit less by standing and moving more--and to take more breaks from sitting throughout the day. Participants tracked how much they thought they were sitting. And at baseline, midway through the study, and at its end, participants used two devices for a week to measure how much they were sitting. They also received charts showing feedback from these measurements. Participants found the feedback charts most helpful, followed by the coaching phone calls.

"The feedback was like a reward for standing up and moving," Mr. Alexander said.
-end-
The Group Health Research Institute's development fund supported this study. Dr. Rosenberg is continuing her research on the effects of sitting time in older adults through her recently funded career development award from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health (K23HL119352).

Dr. Rosenberg's coauthors are David Arterburn, MD, MPH, an associate investigator, Salene Jones, PhD, a research fellow, and Anne Renz, MPH, a project manager, all at Group Health Research Institute; Nancy Gell, PhD, MPH, PT, an assistant professor of rehabilitation and movement science at the University of Vermont School of Nursing and Health Sciences; Jaqueline Kerr, PhD, an associate professor of family medicine and public health at the University of California San Diego, in La Jolla; and Paul Gardiner, PhD, one of Dr. Rosenberg's coauthors. Dr. Gardiner is a postdoctoral research fellow in public health at the University of Queensland, in Brisbane, Australia.

Group Health Research Institute

Group Health Research Institute does practical research that helps people like you and your family stay healthy. The Institute is the research arm of Seattle-based Group Health Cooperative, a consumer-governed, nonprofit health care system. Founded in 1947, Group Health Cooperative coordinates health care and coverage. Group Health Research Institute changed its name from Group Health Center for Health Studies in 2009. The Institute has conducted nonproprietary public-interest research on preventing, diagnosing, and treating major health problems since 1983. Government and private research grants provide its main funding. Follow Group Health research on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.

Group Health Research Institute

Related Diabetes Articles from Brightsurf:

New diabetes medication reduced heart event risk in those with diabetes and kidney disease
Sotagliflozin - a type of medication known as an SGLT2 inhibitor primarily prescribed for Type 2 diabetes - reduces the risk of adverse cardiovascular events for patients with diabetes and kidney disease.

Diabetes drug boosts survival in patients with type 2 diabetes and COVID-19 pneumonia
Sitagliptin, a drug to lower blood sugar in type 2 diabetes, also improves survival in diabetic patients hospitalized with COVID-19, suggests a multicenter observational study in Italy.

Making sense of diabetes
Throughout her 38-year nursing career, Laurel Despins has progressed from a bedside nurse to a clinical nurse specialist and has worked in medical, surgical and cardiac intensive care units.

Helping teens with type 1 diabetes improve diabetes control with MyDiaText
Adolescence is a difficult period of development, made more complex for those with Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM).

Diabetes-in-a-dish model uncovers new insights into the cause of type 2 diabetes
Researchers have developed a novel 'disease-in-a-dish' model to study the basic molecular factors that lead to the development of type 2 diabetes, uncovering the potential existence of major signaling defects both inside and outside of the classical insulin signaling cascade, and providing new perspectives on the mechanisms behind insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes and possibly opportunities for the development of novel therapeutics for the disease.

Tele-diabetes to manage new-onset diabetes during COVID-19 pandemic
Two new case studies highlight the use of tele-diabetes to manage new-onset type 1 diabetes in an adult and an infant during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Genetic profile may predict type 2 diabetes risk among women with gestational diabetes
Women who go on to develop type 2 diabetes after having gestational, or pregnancy-related, diabetes are more likely to have particular genetic profiles, suggests an analysis by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions.

Maternal gestational diabetes linked to diabetes in children
Children and youth of mothers who had gestational diabetes during pregnancy are at increased risk of diabetes themselves, according to new research published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Two diabetes medications don't slow progression of type 2 diabetes in youth
In youth with impaired glucose tolerance or recent-onset type 2 diabetes, neither initial treatment with long-acting insulin followed by the drug metformin, nor metformin alone preserved the body's ability to make insulin, according to results published online June 25 in Diabetes Care.

People with diabetes visit the dentist less frequently despite link between diabetes, oral health
Adults with diabetes are less likely to visit the dentist than people with prediabetes or without diabetes, finds a new study led by researchers at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing and East Carolina University's Brody School of Medicine.

Read More: Diabetes News and Diabetes Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.