Objective Leisure-time sedentary behaviors (LTSBs) have been associated adversely with health outcomes. However, limited research has focused on different categories of LTSB. We aimed at identifying categories of LTSBs and examining their separate associations with indices of health among Japanese older adults. Methods A postal survey collected data on self-reported health, psychological distress, body mass index, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), LTSBs (five behaviors) and socio-demographic characteristics from 1,580 Japanese older adults (67% response rate; 65–74 years) in 2010. Exploratory factor analysis was used to classify LTSBs. Odds ratios (ORs) were calculated for associations of LTSB categories with self-reported health, psychological distress, overweight, and lower MVPA. Data were analyzed in 2013. Results Two categories of LTSB: passive sedentary time (consisting of TV time, listening or talking while sitting, and sitting around) and mentally-active sedentary time (consisting of computer-use and reading books or newspapers) were identified. Higher passive sedentary time was associated with a higher odds of being overweight (OR: 1.39, [95% CI: 1.08–1.80]), and lower MVPA (1.26, [1.02–1.54]). Higher mentally-active sedentary time was associated with lower odds of lower MVPA (0.70, [0.57–0.86]). Conclusions Two types of sedentary time—passive and mentally-active—may play different roles in older adults’ well-being.
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