Research Study Abstract

Correlates of Total Sedentary Time and Screen Time in 9–11 Year-Old Children around the World: The International Study of Childhood Obesity, Lifestyle and the Environment

  • Published on June 11, 2015

Purpose: 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.

Methods: 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.

Results: 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.

Conclusions: 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.


  • Allana G. LeBlanc 1,2
  • Peter T. Katzmarzyk 3
  • Tiago V. Barreira 3,4
  • Stephanie T. Broyles 3
  • Jean-Philippe Chaput 1,2
  • Timothy S. Church 3
  • Mikael Fogelholm 5
  • Deirdre M. Harrington 6
  • Gang Hu 3
  • Rebecca Kuriyan 7
  • Anura Kurpad 7
  • Estelle V. Lambert 8
  • Carol Maher 9
  • José Maia 10
  • Victor Matsudo 11
  • Timothy Olds 9
  • Vincent Onywera 12
  • Olga L. Sarmiento 13
  • Martyn Standage 14
  • Catrine Tudor-Locke 3
  • Pei Zhao 15
  • Mark S. Tremblay 1


  • 1

    Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, Ottawa, Canada

  • 2

    University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada

  • 3

    Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, United States of America

  • 4

    University of Syracuse, Syracuse, United States of America

  • 5

    University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland

  • 6

    University of Leicester, Leicester, United Kingdom

  • 7

    St. Johns Research Institute, Bangalore, India

  • 8

    University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa

  • 9

    School of Health Sciences / Sansom Institute, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia

  • 10

    Faculdade de Desporto, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal

  • 11

    Centro de Estudos do Laboratório de Aptidão Física de São Caetano do Sul (CELAFISCS), Sao Paulo, Brazil

  • 12

    Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya

  • 13

    School of Medicine, Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia, Colombia

  • 14

    University of Bath, Bath, United Kingdom

  • 15

    Tianjin Women’s and Children’s Health Center, Tianjin, China




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