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Sedentary behavior and perceived stress among adults aged ≥50 years in six low- and middle-income countries

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Garcia Ashdown-Franks, Ai Koyanagi, Davy Vancampfort, Lee Smith, Joseph Firth, Felipe Schuch, Nicola Veronese, Brendon Stubbs

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-107
Number of pages8
Early online date6 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018

King's Authors


Background Sedentary behavior and perceived stress are both negatively associated with physical and mental health. Little is known about the association between sedentary behavior and perceived stress, and there is a particular paucity of data on people aged ≥50 years from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Methods We analyzed cross-sectional, community-based data from 34,129 individuals aged ≥50 years [mean age 62.4 (SD = 16.0) years, 52% females] from six LMICs. Perceived stress was assessed using the Perceived Stress Scale and time spent sedentary per day was self-reported. Multivariable linear regression analyses were conducted, adjusting for important socio-economic and physical and mental health-related confounders. Results The mean perceived stress score increased with greater sedentary time (38.4 for 0–<4 h/day to 54.2 for ≥11 h/day). In the fully adjusted model, 4–8, 8–11, and ≥11 h/day of sedentary behavior (SB) were associated with 1.97 (95%CI = 0.57–3.36), 7.11 (95%CI = 4.96–9.27), and 9.02 (95%CI = 5.45–12.59) times higher mean perceived stress scores, compared with 0–<4 h/day. Greater time spent sedentary was associated with higher perceived stress scores in all six countries, although the association in Mexico fell short of statistical significance. Conclusion This is the first multinational analysis to show that a greater amount of sedentary behavior is associated with higher levels of perceived stress among older adults in LMICs. Future research may examine the types and contexts of sedentary behavior, and explore the underlying mechanisms of the relationship.

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