COVID-19 Public Health Road Map: Sedentary behaviour

Angel Chater, Shanara Abdin, Gillian Shorter, Lesley Lewis, Jo Hart, Chris Armitage, Tracy Epton, Lucie Byrne-Davis, Madelynne A Arden, Paul Chadwick, Atiya Kamal, John Drury, Emily McBride, Daryl O'Connor, Vivien Swanson, Sam Thompson, Ellie Whittaker, Neil Howlett, Behavioural Science and Disease Prevention Taskforce

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


Behavioural science recommendations
Limiting and breaking up sedentary behaviour throughout the waking day can benefit both physical and psychological health. Levels of sedentary behaviour can be influenced by what we know and what we can do (capability); the people around us and our physical environment (opportunity); and our beliefs, what we want, how we see ourselves, how we regulate our emotions, and our habits (motivation). To limit and break up sedentary behaviour that may have increased since COVID-19:

● Increase awareness and educate about what is sedentary behaviour, and how to reduce it.
● Consider whether any disruption to daily routines, physical environments (e.g. working from home/school closures), and/or social support may have influenced sedentary behaviour.
● Where needed, develop strategies to mitigate influences on sedentary behaviour (e.g. changing the physical and social environment to enable more regular movement, setting prompts as a reminder to break up sitting time).
● Facilitate planning of how to break up and limit levels of sedentary behaviour, especially during home schooling/working and/or in the event of unpredictable circumstances (e.g. needing to self-isolate/quarantine).
● Promote standing for tasks or activities that may otherwise be performed while sedentary and regular movement to break up sitting time throughout the day, for the benefit of physical health and psychological wellbeing.

We recommend following the British Psychological Society’s Behavioural Science and Disease Prevention: Psychological guidance3 to shape any policy and/or communications strategy.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLeicester
PublisherBritish Psychological Society
Commissioning bodyBritish Psychological Society
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020

Bibliographical note

Co-Chair of the Health Behaviour and COVID-19 working group that produced these documents 2/9


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