Request for Information (RFI) for High-Priority Research Topics for Sedentary Behavior

Notice Number: NOT-HL-13-166

Key Dates
Release Date: January 15, 2013
Response Date: February 15, 2013

Issued by
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)


The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and the National Institute on Aging (NIA) are planning to convene a workshop on physical inactivity and, to this end, seek public comments about high-priority research topics that are needed to move the study of physical inactivity and sedentary behavior forward. Information obtained will help inform the NHLBI and NIA research portfolios in this area.


Several scientifically-based guideline documents (Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee Report; Physical Activity and Public Health in Older Adults: Recommendation From the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association) provide specific recommendations about the minimum amount of moderate to vigorous physical activity needed for substantial health benefits in adults, older adults and/or children. Surveillance data however indicates adherence to these recommendations is low. In fact the majority of US adults and children are reportedly sedentary. Sedentary behavior is defined as activities that do not substantially increase energy expenditure beyond resting levels and includes activities such as sleeping, lying down, sitting, television viewing and computer use. According to surveillance data, most US adults spend approximately eight hours per day in sedentary activities, with older adults 60 and over spending 60% of their waking hours in these activities. Among youths, the most sedentary group noted are adolescents age 16-19, who also reportedly spent about 60% of their waking hours in sedentary behaviors. Sedentary behavior is of concern because large epidemiological studies provide evidence of associations between sedentary behavior and negative health outcomes. More recent experimental studies, using measured data of sedentariness, indicate that prolonged engagement in sedentary activity leads to adverse metabolic responses and cellular processes, all of which are risk factors for negative health outcomes. Sedentary behavior is of further concern because it seemingly confers substantial health risks throughout the course of life. In the field of activity research, substantial strides have been made and significant knowledge gained about the effect of moderately-intense and vigorously-intense activities on health outcomes. There however is not sufficient data on the independent and measured effects of sedentary behavior on health outcomes. Although many studies associate sedentary behaviors with negative health consequences, the majority of these studies have used self-reported measures of sedentariness or defaulted research subjects into the sedentary category if they did not achieve the study's pre-defined levels of activity. As such it is difficult to accurately estimate the independent health effects of sedentary behavior. For these reasons and the fact that NIH research is improved when informed by broad scientific and public input, NHLBI and NIA seek the perspectives of their multiple stakeholders on research priorities for sedentary behavior and physical inactivity.

Information Requested

Specific input on the following is sought:

1.  Identification and prioritization of unanswered research questions for sedentary behavior for adults and youths. This can cover any research category from the basic science, clinical, population-level and translational segments.
2.  Approaches to accurately evaluate and measure sedentary behavior in different populations.
3.  Types of interventions and strategies needed to reduce the current high prevalence of sedentariness among the US populace.
4. Opportunities for and barriers to the translation of current scientific knowledge to reduce sedentary behavior at the population level.

This Request for Information (RFI) is for information and planning purposes only and should not be construed as a solicitation or as an obligation on the part of the Federal Government, the NIH, NHLBI or NIA.  NIH, NHLBI and NIA do not intend to make any awards based on responses to this RFI or to otherwise pay for the preparation of any information submitted, or for the Government's use of such information.

Proprietary, classified, confidential, or sensitive information should not be included in your response. Responses will not be de-identified, so please do not include identifiable information if you want to make confidential comments. The Government reserves the right to use any non-proprietary technical and scientific information in any resultant solicitation(s).

Submitting a Response

To respond to any of the points above or others, please identify the critical issues(s) and provide your comments, and recommended approaches or suggestions in bullet form. Responders are free to address any or all of the above items. All comments must be submitted electronically to:

Responses to this RFI will be accepted through February 15, 2013. Responders will receive an electronic confirmation acknowledging receipt of a response, but will not receive individualized feedback on any submissions. No basis for claims against the U.S. Government shall arise as a result of a response to this request for information or from the Government’s use of such information.


Please direct inquiries to:

Josephine Boyington, PhD
Health Scientist Administrator
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
6701 Rockledge Drive, RKL II
Bethesda, MD 20892
Phone: 301-435-0446

Lyndon Joseph, PhD
Health Scientist Administrator
National Institute on Aging
7201 Wisconsin Ave, Suite 3C-307
Bethesda, MD 20892
Phone: 301-496-6761