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Prev Med. 2012 Jan;54(1):55-60. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2011.10.016. Epub 2011 Oct 29.

An observational study on socio-economic and ethnic differences in indicators of sedentary behavior and physical activity in preschool children.

Author information

  • 1The Generation R Study Group, Erasmus MC-University Medical Centre Rotterdam, PO Box 2040, 3000 CA Rotterdam, The Netherlands. l.vanrossem@umcutrecht.nl



We studied associations between social disadvantage and indicators of sedentary behavior and physical activity at preschool age.


Data from 4688 children enrolled in a birth cohort in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, between 2002 and 2006 were analyzed. Indicators of sedentary behavior (watching television ≥ 2 h/day and sitting in a buggy ≥ 0.5 h/day) and physical inactivity (playing outside < 3 h/day) were measured by a parent-reported questionnaire at age 3. Adjustments were made for social circumstances and indicators of health behaviors. Logistic regression was used to obtain odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI).


Children with low-educated mothers (OR: 3.27, 95% CI 2.12-5.05) and non-Dutch children (OR(nonWestern): 2.67, 95% CI 2.04-3.49, OR(Western): 2.09, 95% CI 1.42-3.0) were more likely to watch television for at least 2 h/day. Similar results were seen for sitting in a buggy for at least 0.5h/day. Non western children were more likely to play outside for less than 3 h/day (OR: 1.95, 95% CI: 1.39-2.73) than native Dutch children, while no differences were seen for other western children or children from mothers with a low educational level.


Socio-economic status and ethnicity are already associated with indicators of sedentary lifestyles at preschool age.

Copyright © 2011. Published by Elsevier Inc.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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