Sedentary behaviour and psychological distress among adults in South Africa: A brief report

  • Supa Pengpid
  • Karl Peltzer
Keywords: Sedentary behaviour, psychological distress, adults, South Africa.


The study aims to investigate the relationship between sedentary behaviour and psychological distress in a large national community sample in  South Africa. Data utilized were from the crosssectional “South African National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey” in 2012. The sample included 13,792 individuals (median age 34.0 years, Interquartile Range 25, range 15-98 years). Overall, the study population had <4 hours (49.4%), 4-<8 hours (37.3%), and 8 or more hours (13.3%) a day of of sedentary time. The prevalence of psychological distress was 15.3% and 18.4% in the less than 4 and less than 8 hours sedentary time categories, respectively, while the prevalence was 21.0% in the 11 or more hours sedentary time  category. In the logistic regression model, adjusted for relevant confounders, higher sedentary time of 4-<8 hours (Odds Ratio-OR: 1.26, Confidence Interval-CI: 1.01, 1.58) and 8 or more hours (OR: 1.47, CI: 1,10, 1.96) increased the odds for psychological distress. Results confirm findings from previous studies in high-income countries that higher sedentary time is detrimental to mental health.

Keywords: Sedentary behaviour, psychological distress, adults, South Africa.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1117-4315