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Short report
Changes in prolonged sedentary behaviour across the transition to retirement
  1. Kristin Suorsa1,2,
  2. Anna Pulakka3,
  3. Tuija Leskinen1,2,
  4. Jaana Pentti1,4,
  5. Jussi Vahtera1,2,
  6. Sari Stenholm1,2
  1. 1Department of Public Health, University of Turku, and Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland
  2. 2Centre for Population Health Research, University of Turku, and Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland
  3. 3Department of Public Health Solutions, Public Health Promotion Unit, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Uusimaa, Finland
  4. 4Clinicum, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
  1. Correspondence to Kristin Suorsa, Department of Public Health, University of Turku, 20520 Turku, Finland; kristin.suorsa{at}


Background Prolonged sedentary behaviour is associated with a higher risk of cardiometabolic diseases. This longitudinal study examined changes in daily total, prolonged (≥30 min) and highly prolonged (≥60 min) sedentary time across the transition to retirement by gender and occupational status.

Methods We included 689 aging workers (mean (SD) age before retirement 63.2 (1.6) years, 85% women) from the Finnish Retirement and Aging Study (FIREA). Sedentary time was measured annually using a wrist-worn triaxial ActiGraph accelerometer before and after retirement with on average 3.4 (range 2–4) measurement points.

Results Women increased daily total sedentary time by 22 min (95% CI 13 to 31), prolonged sedentary time by 34 min (95% CI 27 to 42) and highly prolonged sedentary time by 15 min (95% CI 11 to 20) in the transition to retirement, and remained at the higher level of sedentary time years after retirement. The highest increase in total and prolonged sedentary time was observed among women retiring from manual occupations. Men had more total and prolonged sedentary time compared with women before and after retirement. Although no changes in men’s sedentary time were observed during the retirement transition, there was a gradual increase of 33 min (95% CI 6 to 60) in prolonged sedentary time from pre-retirement years to post-retirement years.

Conclusion The transition to retirement was accompanied by an abrupt increase in prolonged sedentary time in women but a more gradual increase in men. The retirement transition may be a suitable time period for interventions aiming to decrease sedentary behaviour.

  • public health
  • longitudinal studies

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  • Contributors SS and JV conceived and designed this study and the data collection. KS, JP and AP analysed the data and KS drafted the manuscript, with critical revisions from SS, AP, TL, JP and JV. All authors approved the final version of the manuscript.

  • Funding This work was supported by the Academy of Finland (Grants 286294, 294154 and 319246 to SS; 309526 to TL); Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture (to SS), Nordforsk (to JV), Juho Vainio Foundation (to SS and KS), Päivikki and Sakari Sohlberg Foundation (to AP) and Hospital District of South-West Finland (to SS and AP).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval Ethics Committee of Hospital District of South-West Finland (84/1801/2014).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data are available upon reasonable request. Anonymised partial datasets of the Finnish Retirement and Aging Study are available by application from bona fide researchers with an established scientific record and bona fide organisations. For more information, please contact Professor Sari Stenholm (

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.

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