Objective To examine the overall effectiveness of interventions for reducing adult sedentary behaviour and to directly compare environmental, behavioural and multicomponent interventions.
Design Intervention systematic review with meta-analysis.
Data sources Ovid PsycINFO, Ovid MEDLINE, EBSCOHost CINAHL, EBSCOHost SPORTDiscus and PubMed were searched from inception to 26 July 2017.
Eligibility criteria Trials including randomised controlled trials, quasi-randomised, cluster-randomised, parallel group, prepost, factorial and crossover trials where the primary aim was to change the sedentary behaviour of healthy adults assessed by self-report (eg, questionnaires, logs) or objective measures (eg, accelerometry).
Results Thirty-eight trials of 5983 participants published between 2003 and 2017 were included in the qualitative synthesis; 35 studies were included in the quantitative analysis (meta-analysis). The pooled effect was a significant reduction in daily sitting time of −30.37 min/day (95% CI −40.86 to −19.89) favouring the intervention group. Reductions in sitting time were similar between workplace (−29.96 min/day; 95% CI −44.05 to –15.87) and other settings (−30.47 min/day; 95% CI −44.68 to –16.26), which included community, domestic and recreational environments. Environmental interventions had the largest reduction in daily sitting time (−40.59 min/day; 95% CI −61.65 to –19.53), followed by multicomponent (−35.53 min/day; 95% CI −57.27 to –13.79) and behavioural (−23.87 min/day; 95% CI −37.24 to –10.49) interventions.
Conclusion Interventions targeting adult sedentary behaviour reduced daily sitting time by an average of 30 min/day, which was likely clinically meaningful.
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Contributors MMP was responsible for study design, data collection, analysis and wrote the first draft of the manuscript. JG assisted in data extraction and assessing risk of bias. AVT and VD-BH acted as second and third readers. JR supervised the research, contributed to the overall study design and data analysis and prepared the revised manuscript.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent Not required.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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