Previously, studies examining correlates of sedentary behavior have been limited by small sample size, restricted geographic area, and little socio-cultural variability. Further, few studies have examined correlates of total sedentary time (SED) and screen time (ST) in the same population. This study aimed to investigate correlates of SED and ST in children around the world.
The sample included 5,844 children (45.6% boys, mean age = 10.4 years) from study sites in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Finland, India, Kenya, Portugal, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Child- and parent-reported behavioral, household, and neighborhood characteristics and directly measured anthropometric and accelerometer data were obtained. Twenty-one potential correlates of SED and ST were examined using multilevel models, adjusting for sex, age, and highest parental education, with school and study site as random effects. Variables that were moderately associated with SED and/or ST in univariate analyses (p<0.10) were included in the final models. Variables that remained significant in the final models (p<0.05) were considered correlates of SED and/or ST.
Children averaged 8.6 hours of daily SED, and 54.2% of children failed to meet ST guidelines. In all study sites, boys reported higher ST, were less likely to meet ST guidelines, and had higher BMI z-scores than girls. In 9 of 12 sites, girls engaged in significantly more SED than boys. Common correlates of higher SED and ST included poor weight status, not meeting physical activity guidelines, and having a TV or a computer in the bedroom.
In this global sample many common correlates of SED and ST were identified, some of which are easily modifiable (e.g., removing TV from the bedroom), and others that may require more intense behavioral interventions (e.g., increasing physical activity). Future work should incorporate these findings into the development of culturally meaningful public health messages.
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- Young people
- screen time