Aim: The aim of this study was to examine the association between time spent in sedentary leisure and physical activity level in mid-aged men and women.
Methods: Data were from the 2007 HABITAT study in Brisbane, Australia. A mail survey sent to 17 000 adults (40–65 years) provided 11 037 responses (68.5%), and 9121 (82.6%) were analysed. Sedentary leisure was quantified as hours/day spent sitting watching television, in home computer use, in general leisure, and overall, on a usual week and weekend day. Physical activity level (no activity, low, recommended, high, very high) included walking, moderate and vigorous activity combined into a measure of MET.min/week. Data were analysed separately for men and women using multilevel multinomial logistic regression with adjustment for sociodemographic and health variables.
Results: The only significant negative associations were between watching television on a week day and high activity in men (0.91; 0.83–0.98), and home computer use on a weekend day and very high activity in men (0.89; 0.81–0.98). For both men and women, there were significant positive associations between overall sedentary leisure time on a week day and very high activity (men: 1.07, 1.02–1.13; women: 1.10, 1.04–1.16), home computer use on a week day and very high activity (men: 1.11, 1.01–1.22; women: 1.15, 1.04–1.27) and general leisure on a week day and most activity levels.
Conclusions: Sedentary leisure is mainly independent of physical activity and does not preclude meeting physical activity recommendations.