Objectively measured physical activity and sedentary time in south Asian women: a cross-sectional study

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Colleges, School and Institutes


Background South Asian (SA) women in the United Kingdom (UK) are known to be at high risk for developing chronic diseases, and to have low levels of physical activity (PA). Increasing levels of PA and reducing sedentary time (ST) are recognized as factors to target in an effort to curb chronic disease morbidity and mortality. There is limited evidence documenting objectively measured PA/ST and their correlates in SA women. Therefore the purpose of this cross-sectional study was to objectively measure and report patterns of PA/ST among SA women in the UK and examine potential socio-demographic correlates of PA/ST. Methods 140 UK SA women (Pakistani and Bangladeshi) wore an accelerometer for 7 consecutive days. Anthropometric measurements and self-reported socio-demographic information were taken. Results Mean daily moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA) was 34.66 ± 21.52 minutes and mean daily ST was 530.20 ± 81.76 minutes, with an inverse correlation (r = -.270, N = 140, p < .001) showing that higher ST was associated with lower MVPA. The same was seen for light intensity PA (LPA) (r = -.610, N = 140, p < .001). MVPA was significantly higher for younger women (18–64.5 yrs), with 64.7% of older women (≥65 yrs) failing to meet PA guidelines (t = 3.101, p < 0.05). Overweight/obese women had lower levels of LPA, MVPA and higher ST (p < .001). Multiple linear regression analyses indicated 14.9% of the variance in MVPA was explained by age and waist circumference (F(2,138) = 6.41, p < 0.002). LPA and ST were significantly higher on weekend days than weekdays (p < .001), and MVPA was significantly higher on weekdays than weekend days. Conclusions Results indicate higher levels of PA in this sample than previously assumed. High levels of LPA in this sample indicate the need for health promotion interventions to target not only duration, but also intensity of activity in this population to achieve PA recommendations.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1269
Number of pages1
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 13 Dec 2014


  • Accelerometry, Measurement, Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, Activity patterns