Purpose: In Lee et al. (2012; J Obesity), a hypothesis relating increased sitting time and lower stress levels was introduced. The aim of this analysis is to evaluate the relationship between measures of sedentary behavior and mental health outcomes.

Method: The current study was a secondary analysis using data from the Health Is Power (HIP) study. Four hundred ten community dwelling African American (n = 263), and Hispanic/Latina (n = 147) women aged 25-60 participated in HIP, a longitudinal, community-based, randomized controlled trial to increase physical activity. Women who met inclusionary criteria gave informed consent and completed health assessments measuring physical activity, mental health status, and demographics. Data were collected at baseline (T1) and after six months of HIP intervention (T2). Interviewer administered questionnaires measured sitting time using items from the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) and self-assessed health status. Ethnicity, household income, and education questions were adapted from the Maternal Infant Health Assessment (MIHA) survey.

Results: Women reported high levels of weekday (414.9 ± 13.1 minutes) and weekend (323.5 ± 11.9 minutes) sitting time at baseline. Over half (n = 248, 63%) reported one or more days that physical health or emotional problems interfered with usual activities, and most (n = 348, 89%) did not expect their health to get worse. Both weekday (r = 0.11; p = 0.036) and weekend sitting time (r = 0.09; p = 0.087) were associated with positive future health expectations. After controlling for age, education, parental education, ethnicity, and income, linear regression models revealed that increased weekday (p = 0.05) and weekend sitting time (p = 0.044) were associated with positive future health expectations at T1, but not at T2. At T2, weekday (-60 ± 25 minutes) and weekend sit time (-49 ± 21 minutes) were significantly reduced compared to T1 (p < 0.05); however, this change was not related to positive future health expectations.

Conclusions: Increased weekday and weekend sitting time was associated with positive future health expectations in minority women. This effect was extinguished after the intervention period, suggesting that sedentary behaviors, but not health expectations, can be mitigated by behaviorally-based health intervention.


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