Vakgroep Psychologie, Gezondheid & Technologie


Title: Is prolonged sitting the new smoking? 


Type of assignment:                    BA thesis HPT, 15 EC

Internal or external?:                    internal

Maximum number of students      2 students

Individual collecting of data?        Individual data collection

Type of research:                         quantitative

Description of the assignment:

Technological innovations and shifting economic demands have changed our levels of physical activity and sedentary behaviour. Demands for physical activity have lowered which led to increased levels of sedentary behaviour. Sedentary behaviour is characterised by activities that do not increase energy use above resting (e.g. sleeping). Such activities are tv viewing, transportation, game-console use and working at a desk. Prolonged sitting is associated with health risks. Among adults, high(er) levels of sedentary behaviour are strongly related to all-cause (premature) mortality, cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

There are few validated subjective measures for occupational sitting, such as the domain-specific sitting questionnaire and the occupational sitting and physical activity questionnaire. However, those seemed inappropriate mostly because of answering times (often over 15 minutes) and difficult to fill in. In a previous project, a short online self-report questionnaire was developed by a student from the master Health Psychology & Technology, the brief questionnaire for occupational sitting (BQOS).

In this assignment you will study sitting behavior in a context of your choice, e.g. in office environments, the transportation sector or in student populations, to find out how prevalent sitting behavior in this context is and in how far it is associated with negative health consequences. You will apply the BQOS and examine its usability and validity in the context you have chosen by for example comparing the self-report with monitoring device or momentary assessment of sedentary behavior. You can also build a duo and adjust and coordinate the topics with one other student to get a broader insight into this subject.


de Rezende, L. F. M., Lopes, M. R., Rey-López, J. P., Matsudo, V. K. R., & do Carmo Luiz, O. (2014). Sedentary behavior and health outcomes: an overview of systematic reviews. PloS one, 9(8), e105620.

Hadgraft, N. T., Dunstan, D. W., & Owen, N. (2018). Models for Understanding Sedentary Behaviour. In Sedentary Behaviour Epidemiology (pp. 381-403). Springer, Cham.

Hadgraft, N. T., Healy, G. N., Owen, N., Winkler, E. A., Lynch, B. M., Sethi, P., ... & Willenberg, L. (2016). Office workers' objectively assessed total and prolonged sitting time: individual-level correlates and worksite variations. Preventive medicine reports, 4, 184-191.

Owen, N., Healy, G. N., Matthews, C. E., & Dunstan, D. W. (2010). Too much sitting: the population-health science of sedentary behaviour. Exercise and sport sciences reviews, 38(3), 105.

Owen, N., Sugiyama, T., Eakin, E. E., Gardiner, P. A., Tremblay, M. S., & Sallis, J. F. (2011). Adults' sedentary behavior: determinants and interventions. American journal of preventive medicine, 41(2), 189-196.

Who are we looking for? A student with an interest in health behavior and its measurement

More information?: Dr. Christina Bode

Supervisors: T.B.D.