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Objectively Measured Sedentary Time in Children and Their Parents

1 Physical Activity and Health group, School of Psychological Science and Health, Graham Hills Building, 40 George Street, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK
2 Institute of Clinical Exercise and Health Science, School of Science and Sport, University of the West of Scotland, Hamilton, UK

Special Issues: Advances in sedentary behavior research and translation

Background: No studies have examined associations in objectively measured sedentary time between parents and young people using activPAL posture sensors, which provide a more accurate estimate of sedentary time compared to accelerometer-based devices. This study examines patterns and associations of activPAL measured sedentary time and number of sedentary breaks on weekdays and weekend days in preschool (2–4 yrs), primary (5–11 yrs) and secondary school aged children (12–17 yrs) and their parents. Methods: 51 parents (16 M, 35 F; mean age 39 (+/-8) yrs) and 51 children (28 M, 23 F; mean age 9 (+/-5) yrs) wore an activPAL monitor for 7 days to measure time spent sedentary and number of breaks in sedentary time. Data was assessed by Pearson’s correlations and t-tests. Results: Secondary school children spent a greater percentage of their day sedentary (64.5 (+/-8.5) %) than preschool (57.4 (+/-7.3) %) and primary school children (57.2 (+/-5) %). For the secondary school parent dyad, there were no significant positive associations for time sedentary (r = -0.167, p = 0.494) and percentage of day sedentary (r = -0.247, p = 0.308). For the primary school parent dyad, there were medium, but non-significant positive correlations for time sedentary (r = 0.38, p = 0.146) and percentage of day sedentary (r = 0.363, p = 0.167). For the preschool parent dyad, there were medium—large positive correlations for percentage of waking day sedentary at weekends (r = 0.479, p = 0.083) and number of sedentary breaks (r = 0.648, p = 0.012) at weekends. Conclusions: There were positive associations in sedentary time between primary school children and their parents, and between preschool children and their parents at the weekend. Thus, interventions aimed at reducing sedentary time of parents and children together, particularly at the weekend for young children, may be effective in these age groups. Secondary school children were more sedentary and had fewer sedentary breaks than younger children, thus interventions should promote breaks in sedentary time as well as reducing total sedentary time in this age group
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