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231. Understanding children's sedentary behaviour

Research Article
Granich, Joanna et al
February 2010

Source : Health Education Research, 2010, 25: 199-210

Commentary by Rona Macniven, Cluster for Physical Activity and Health (CPAH), University of Sydney

This study describes influences of the family home environment on children’s electronic-based sedentary behaviour (TV and computer games) finding parent and sibling modelling and reinforcement, personal cognitive factors, the physical home environment and household rules and restrictions determined electronic media use. Electronic sedentary behaviour is associated with overweight & obesity and may displace potential time spent in physical activity.

Qualitative focus groups and family interviews were conducted with fifty-four 11- to 12-year old children and their parents (n=38), recruited through schools in low-, middle- and high socio-economic areas (SES), with the majority from high SES neighbourhoods. Information on leisure behaviour and electronic devices at home were also provided by a self-report questionnaire.

The majority of children spent more than the recommended maximum of two hours per day on electronic media during leisure time, but participants believed this behaviour was in balance with time spent in physical activities on week days and weekends. This assumption appeared to be a barrier to reducing sedentary behaviour. Parents, older siblings and friends were found to be key influencers on electronic media behaviour, which calls for future interventions to target families together. 

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