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Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2013 Sep 4;10:105. doi: 10.1186/1479-5868-10-105.

Socioeconomic position and childhood sedentary time: evidence from the PEACH project.

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  • 1Sport and Health Sciences, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, Devon, United Kingdom.



Associations between socioeconomic position (SEP) and sedentary behaviour in children are unclear. Existing studies have used aggregate measures of weekly sedentary time that could mask important differences in the relationship between SEP and sedentary time at different times of the day or between weekdays and weekend days. These studies have also employed a variety of measures of SEP which may be differentially associated with sedentary time. This paper examines associations of multiple indicators of SEP and accelerometer-measured, temporally specific, sedentary time in school children.


Between 2006 and 2007 sedentary time data (minutes spent below 100 accelerometer counts per minute) for weekdays before-school (7.00-8.59AM), during school-time (9.00AM-2.59PM) and after-school (3.00PM-11.00PM), and weekend days were recorded for 629 10-11 year old children using accelerometers. Ordinary least squares regression was used to examine associations with 5 indicators of SEP (area deprivation, annual household income, car ownership, parental education and access to a private garden). Covariates were; gender, BMI, minutes of daylight, accelerometer wear time and school travel method. Analyses were conducted in 2012.


Following adjustments for covariates, having a parent educated to university degree level was associated with more minutes of school (5.87 [95% CI 1.72, 10.04]) and after-school (6.04 [95% CI 0.08, 12.16]) sedentary time. Quartiles of area deprivation (most to least deprived) were positively associated with after-school (Q2: 4.30 [95% CI -6.09, 14.70]; Q3: 10.77 [95% CI 0.47, 21.06]; Q4: 12.74 [95% CI 2.65, 22.84]; P(trend) = 0.04) and weekend (Q2: 26.34 [95% CI 10.16, 42.53]; Q3: 33.28 [95% CI 16.92, 49.65]; Q4: 29.90 [95% CI 14.20, 45.60]; P(trend) = 0.002) sedentary time. Having a garden was associated with less sedentary time after-school (-14.39 [95% CI -25.14, -3.64]) and at weekends (-27.44 [95% CI -43.11, -11.78]).


Associations between SEP and children's sedentary-time varied by SEP indicator and time of day. This highlights the importance of measuring multiple indicators of SEP and examining context specific sedentary time in children in order to fully understand how SEP influences this behaviour. Further research should combine self-report and objective data to examine associations with specific sedentary behaviours in the contexts within which they occur, as well as total sedentary time.

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