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The descriptive epidemiology of standing activity during free-living in 5412 middle-aged adults: the 1970 British Cohort Study
  1. Mark Hamer1,
  2. Emmanuel Stamatakis2
  1. 1 Institute Sport Exercise & Health, Division Surgery Interventional Science, University College London, London, UK
  2. 2 Faculty of Medicine and Health, School of Health Sciences, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Mark Hamer, Division Surgery Interventional Science, UCL, London WC1E 6BT, UK; m.hamer{at}


Background Standing is often classified as light-intensity physical activity, with potential health benefits compared with sitting. Standing is, however, rarely captured as an independent activity. To better understand free-living standing behaviour at a population level, we incorporated a gold standard postural allocation technique into a national cohort study.

Methods Participants (n=5412, aged 46.8±0.7 years) from the 1970 British Cohort Study were fitted with a water-proofed thigh-mounted accelerometer device (activPAL3 micro) worn 24 hours continuously over 7 days (90.7% provided at least 3 full days). We examined the correlates of free-living standing during waking hours.

Results Total daily standing time averaged 4.6±1.5 h/d, accounting for 29% of waking hours, which was largely (98.7%) accumulated in bouts lasting less than 30 min. In mutually adjusted models, male sex, obesity, diabetes, professional occupation, poor self-rated health and disability were associated with lower device-measured standing times.

Conclusion Middle-aged people in Britain spent a surprisingly large proportion of the day in activities involving standing. Standing merits attention as a health-related posture and may represent a potential target for public health intervention.


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  • Contributors MH had full access to the data and takes responsibility for the integrity and accuracy of the results. All authors contributed to the concept and design of study, drafting and critical revision of the manuscript.

  • Funding British Heart Foundation (SP/15/6/31397). The funders had no role in the study design; in the collection, analysis and interpretation of data; in writing of the report or in the decision to submit the paper for publication.

  • Competing interests MH and ES have received an unrestricted grant from PAL Technologies, Scotland, UK. Data are publicly available:

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.