Research Study Abstract

Regional differences of physical activity and sedentary behaviour in Swiss children are not explained by socio-demographics or the built environment

  • Published on Jan. 8, 2015

Objective: We evaluated whether regional differences in physical activity (PA) and sedentary behaviour (SB) exis- ted along language boundaries within Switzerland and whether potential differences would be explained by socio- demographics or environmental characteristics.

Methods: We combined data of 611 children aged 4 to 7 years from four regional studies. PA and SB were assessed by accelerometers. Information about the socio-demo- graphic background was obtained by questionnaires. Objective neighbourhood attributes could be linked to home addresses. Multivariate regression models were used to test associations between PA and SB and socio-demo- graphic characteristics and neighbourhood attributes.

Results: Children from the German compared to the French-speaking region were more physically active and less sedentary (by 10–15 %, p \ 0.01). Although German- speaking children lived in a more favourable environment and a higher socioeconomic neighbourhood (differences p \ 0.001), these characteristics did not explain the dif- ferences in PA behaviour between French and German speaking.

Conclusions: Factors related to the language region, which might be culturally rooted were among the strongest correlates of PA and SB among Swiss children, indepen- dent of individual, social and environmental factors.


International Journal of Public Health


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