Journal of Epidemiology
Online ISSN : 1349-9092
Print ISSN : 0917-5040
ISSN-L : 0917-5040
Are Japanese women less physically active than men? Findings from the DOSANCO Health Study
Shiho AmagasaShigeru InoueShigekazu UkawaSachiko SasakiKoshi NakamuraAya YoshimuraAya TanakaTakashi KimuraTakafumi NakagawaAkihiro ImaeDing DingHiroyuki KikuchiAkiko Tamakoshi
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JOURNAL OPEN ACCESS Advance online publication

Article ID: JE20200185

A newer version of this article is available.
version.2: January 13, 2021
version.1: August 08, 2020


Previous research has established that women accumulate less moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) than men. To date, however, little is known about the gender differences in device-based activity patterns of sedentary behavior (SB) and light-intensity physical activity (LPA). We aimed to compare time spent in SB and different intensities of physical activity taking into account of co-dependence of time use domains.


This cross-sectional study was conducted in Suttu town, Hokkaido, Japan. Data were analyzed from 634 Japanese adults (278 men, aged 19-92 years) who provided valid accelerometer (HJA-750C) data. Gender differences in activity behavior patterns were tested by multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA) based on isometric log-ratio transformations of time use, adjusting for age. We also developed bootstrap percentile confidence intervals (CI) to support the interpretation of which behavior differed between genders.


Overall, participants had percent time spent in SB, LPA, MVPA during wearing time (mean 14.8 hours) corresponding to 53.9%, 41.7%, and 4.4%, respectively. Activity behavior patterns differed significantly between genders after controlling for time spent in all activities. Women spent relatively 13.3% (CI: 9.9, 15.9) less time in SB and 19.8% (CI: 14.9, 24.6) more time in LPA compared to men. The difference of time spent in MVPA was not statistically significant.


In contrast with previous studies, our findings suggest that Japanese women are more physically active than men when all intensities of activities are considered. Given the health benefits of LPA, evaluating only MVPA may disproportionately underestimate the level of physical activity of women.

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© 2020 Shiho Amagasa et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.