Obesity Indicators 2014

This publication reports the latest available data for 16 indicators selected to monitor progress for the Prevention of Obesity Route Map. Most indicators are updated up to 2013, but for some indicators data is more or less up-to-date than this.

This document is part of a collection

Proportion of adults engaging in sedentary activities[7]

Indicator Source: Scottish Health Survey


  • In 2013, adults reported sitting in their leisure time for a mean of 5.3 hours on weekdays and 6.1 hours on weekend days. Reported sedentary leisure time was broadly similar for men and women (5.4 and 5.3 weekday mean hours, respectively, and 6.1 and 6.0 weekend day mean hours) and remained stable compared to 2012.
  • Sedentary activity levels varied by age, with those aged 25 to 54 tending to spend the least time sitting both on weekdays and weekend days (mean hours ranging from 4.3 to 4.6 on weekdays and 5.4 to 5.7 hours on weekend days). Older people (aged 65 and over) were the most sedentary on both weekdays (6.9 to 7.5 hours) and weekend days (7.0 to 7.7 hours).
  • The proportion of adults spending four or more hours sitting at a screen or similar display on an average day (excluding time at work) in 2013 was 34% (36% for men, 32% for women).

Proportion of adults sitting for 4+ hours per day at a TV/ other screen on an average day, by sex 2003-2013


Desired Outcome:
Increased energy expenditure.

Time spent sitting during leisure time (including weekdays and weekends).

Relevant Route Map action:
Does not map onto specific obesity action but indirectly relates to energy expenditure actions.

Geography available:

Equalities data:
Breakdowns by all six equalities groups are possible as all are included in the survey. However, some will not have large enough sample sizes and may require several years of data to be combined. Age, gender and (possibly) disability breakdowns should be available, but religion, ethnic group and sexual orientation are not likely to be possible as this question is only in the survey every second year and therefore has a smaller sample size.

Rationale for including this indicator:
The aim of this indicator is to monitor the proportion of adults engaging in sedentary behaviour, such as hours spent sitting at a screen or reading during leisure time. Sedentary time at work is not included in the summary estimates.

Factors influencing this indicator:

  • Choice and availability of leisure activities.


Email: Daniel Adams

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