n African Journal for Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance - Sitting time and its associated factors in university students from 18 low, middle and emerging economy countries

Volume 20, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1117-4315


Prolonged sitting is an emerging health risk. The purpose of this study was to assess the prevalence of sitting time and to explore relationships with sociodemographic, body mass index (BMI), well-being, and health risk behaviour variables among university students from 18 low, middle and emerging economy countries. In a cross-sectional survey we took anthropometric measurements and used a self-administered questionnaire among a sample of 9427 undergraduate university students (mean age 20.8, SD=2. 8, age range of 16-30 years) from 18 universities in 18 countries. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed with high sitting time (quartile 4: 501-1020 minutes) as the dependent variable. Results indicate that the mean reported sitting time was 363 minutes/day (SD=206). The proportion of students reporting 0-240 minutes/day was 36.1%, 241-360 minutes/day 22%, 361-500 minutes/day 21.9%, and 501-1020 minutes/day 20%. In multivariate logistic regression analysis, younger age (16-19 years), residing off campus (either on their own or with parents or guardian), coming from a low income country (Bangladesh and Madagascar), depression symptoms, not currently using tobacco, and low physical activity were associated with the highest quartile of sitting time. Sitting is prevalent in university students across Africa, Asia and the Americas and merits attention by preventive interventions.

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