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Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2010 Dec 31;7:92. doi: 10.1186/1479-5868-7-92.

Descriptive epidemiology of screen and non-screen sedentary time in adolescents: a cross sectional study.

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  • 1Health and Use of Time (HUT) Group, Sansom Institute for Health Research, University of South Australia, GPO Box 2471, Adelaide, 5001, South Australia, Australia.



Much attention has been paid to adolescents' screen time, however very few studies have examined non-screen sedentary time (NSST). This study aimed to (1) describe the magnitude and composition of screen sedentary time (SST) and NSST in Australian adolescents, (2) describe the socio-demographic correlates of SST and NSST, and (3) determine whether screen time is an adequate surrogate for total sedentary behaviour in this population.


2200 9-16 year old Australians provided detailed use of time data for four days. Non-screen sedentary time (NSST) included time spent participating in activities expected to elicit <3 METs whilst seated or lying down (other than sleeping), excluding screen-based activities (television, playing videogames or using computers). Total sedentary time was the sum of screen time and NSST.


Adolescents spent a mean (SD) of 345 (105) minutes/day in NSST, which constituted 60% of total sedentary time. School activities contributed 42% of NSST, socialising 19%, self-care (mainly eating) 16%, and passive transport 15%. Screen time and NSST showed opposite patterns in relation to key socio-demographic characteristics, including sex, age, weight status, household income, parental education and day type. Because screen time was negatively correlated with NSST (r = -0.58), and exhibited a moderate correlation (r = 0.53) with total sedentary time, screen time was only a moderately effective surrogate for total sedentary time.


To capture a complete picture of young people's sedentary time, studies should endeavour to measure both screen time and NSST.

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