Activity preferences and demographic factors associated with screen time sedentary behaviour among grade 1 to 4 students: A pilot study among Canadian children

Rebecca Bassett-Gunter, Scott Leatherdale


Sedentary behavior is a modificable risk factor contributing to childhood overweight and obesity. The current study seeks to explore if a) significant between-school random variation and b) activity preferences and demographic characteristics are associated with spending >2 hours/day in screen-based sedentary behavior (SSB) among young children. Data were collected from 2331 grade 1 to 4 elementary school students from Ontario, Canada as part of the PLAY-ON study. Parents reported student's physical activity and SSB, as well as their perceptions of their child's physical activity preferences. Demographic data (age, sex, BMI) were collected by a registered nurse. Students also reported their activity preferences. There was no significant between-school random variation in the odds of a student engagingin high SSB (>2hr/day). High SSB was more likely amongmale (vs. female), older (vs. younger), overweight (vs. normal weight), and high active (vs. low active) students. Students were less likely to engage in high SSB if their parents perceived that they liked playing sports. The school environment may not be important in determining SSB risk factors among grade 1-4 students. Rather, individual characteristics and parents' perceptions of students' activity preferences may contribute to SSB. Boys and older children may be at particular risk for high SSB. Parents' role in monitoring and limiting SSB may be imperative in ensuring young children do not exceed SSB guidelines. Campaigns and initiatives to increase parents' awareness of the risk of high SSB would be of value.


screen-based sedentary behaviour, youth, physical activity, parents

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ISSN: 19206216