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Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2006 Oct 25;3:36.

Children's television viewing and objectively measured physical activity: associations with family circumstance.

Author information

  • 1Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia. kylie.hesketh@deakin.edu.au

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The contribution of family circumstance to physical activity and television viewing has not been widely investigated in pre-adolescents, and available information is inconsistent. This study examines whether television viewing and objectively measured physical activity vary by different indicators of family circumstance.

METHODS:

Data from the 2001 Children's Leisure Activity Study and the 2002/3 Health, Eating and Play Study, involving Australian children in Grades Prep (mean age 6y) and 5-6 (mean age 11y), were combined. Children wore accelerometers for six consecutive 24 hour periods. Average min/day in low-intensity activity (1.0-1.9 METs) and moderate-to-vigorous-intensity activity (>or=3 METs) were calculated. Parents reported children's television viewing and family circumstance. Linear regression analyses were conducted separately for young girls, young boys, older girls and older boys.

RESULTS:

Complete data were available for 2458 children. Parental education and, to a lesser extent, employment level were inversely associated with television viewing. Children in single-parent families, those whose fathers were not in paid employment, and those without siblings tended to spend more time in low-intensity activity than their peers. Children with siblings spent more time in moderate-to-vigorous-intensity activity; associations were stronger for girls. Maternal education was positively associated with moderate-to-vigorous-intensity activity for younger children. Maternal employment was positively associated with moderate-to-vigorous-intensity activity for older children. Multivariable models did not demonstrate a cumulative explanatory effect.

CONCLUSION:

Individual measures of family circumstance were differentially associated with television, low-intensity activity and moderate-to-vigorous-intensity activity and associations were often not consistent across age-by-gender groups. Interventions may need to be tailored accordingly.

PMID:
17062166
[PubMed]
PMCID:
PMC1636654
Free PMC Article
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