Improving the measurement of sedentary behaviour and sitting: evaluation of inclinometers, accelerometers and questionnaires for use in research


The aim of this project is to examine the validity and reliability of a set of questions used in large population studies to quantify sedentary behaviour, standing, and sleeping times; and to examine the measurement properties, usability and validity of two commercially available inclinometer/accelerometers


Associate Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis

Research Location

Exercise, Health and Performance Research Group

Program Type



The 45 and Up and the Social Economic Environmental Factors study (SEEF) are questionnaire-based studies with large sample sizes (n>200,000 & n>60,000 respectively) and great potential for answering research questions on sedentary behaviour, standing and sleeping. The corresponding self-administered survey items enquire about daily times spent on sitting, sleeping, standing, TV/computer combined (45 & Up only), TV (SEEF only), and computer use (SEEF only). Although several published and ongoing studies have used these time allocation data, none of these questions have been validated.
The Actigraph is probably the most widely used accelerometer in physical activity research. The recent GT3X+ triaxial model is being marketed as an inclinometer but preliminary testing suggests that when worn on the usual placement spot (waist) its performance in determining postural allocation is poor. On the other hand, ActivPAL is a specialised inclinometer used broadly in sedentary behaviour research ,although is very expensive for large scale research and requires adherence directly on the thigh skin, which may make it problematic in certain situations. The Actigraph is limited as a device for measuring sedentary behaviour because its inclinometer has been found to have poor accuracy for determining posture allocation when worn on the waist. Less is known regarding its accuracy when worn on the thigh, a location used to differentiate between sitting and standing with the ActivPAL.
There are several ongoing Charles Perkins Centre research projects that use either the 45 & Up-SEEF data on sleeping/sedentary behaviour/standing or are collecting data from office workers and looking to use a feasible and inexpensive objective measurement of postural allocation that can differentiate between sitting and standing with small measurement error.

Additional Information

Aims and Objectives
The aim of the proposed project is to address the above two gaps. Specifically, the two main aims and corresponding objectives will be:
1) to evaluate the question items on sitting, sleeping, standing, screen time (as an indicator of overall sedentary behaviour) , in a sample of adults aged 45 and over:
• Criterion validity of the sitting, standing, against ActivPAL postural allocation data
• Comparative validity of the screen time questions (as an indicators of overall sedentary behaviour) against ActivPAL sitting output.
• Comparative validity of the sleeping question against ActivPAL postural allocation data
• Test-retest reliability of the sitting, sleeping, standing, TV/computer combined, TV, and computer questions
2) In the same sample, to examine the feasibility and validity of using the GT3X+ as a thigh-worn accelerometer
• Acceptability and adherence to wearing the GT3X+ worn on the thigh
o During work hours
o After work
o Weekdays vs weekends
• Criterion validity of the GT3X+ postural allocation data (sitting and standing) against the ActivPAL
o During work hours
o After work

Want to find out more?

Contact us to find out what’s involved in applying for a PhD. Domestic students and International students

Contact Research Expert to find out more about participating in this opportunity.

Browse for other opportunities within the Exercise, Health and Performance Research Group .


sitting, standing, measurement, physical activity, sit-stand desks, accelerometry, inclinometer, questionnaire, self-reported measured, Health behaviour, sedentary behaviour, cardiovascular, metabolic, diabetes, cardiometabolic, behaviour change, prevention, reliability, validity, property instruments, exercise

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 1888

Other opportunities with Associate Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis