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Int J Behav Med. 2004;11(4):236-42.

The value of sedentary alternatives influences child physical activity choice.

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Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University of Buffalo, New York 14214, USA.


The choice to be physically active or sedentary depends in part on the value of the alternatives that are available. The shift from sedentary to active alternatives may be a function of the value of the sedentary alternatives. To evaluate the influence of the value of the sedentary alternatives on the choice to be physically active or sedentary, 30 nonobese 8-12-year-old youth were randomized in groups that provided a choice between 4 active alternatives or 4 sedentary alternatives (Group 1), their least valued sedentary activity (Group 2), or their most valued sedentary activity (Group 3), on computerized and questionnaire versions of a behavioral choice task. The computer task required participants to work for access to the alternatives. The work required to obtain access to the active alternatives remained constant for all choices, while the work required to gain access to the sedentary alternatives progressively increased. Compared to Groups 1 and 3, participants in Group 2 chose to be sedentary less often as they had to make a choice between being physically active or sedentary on the computerized (p < .005) and the questionnaire version (p < .05) of the behavioral choice task, which correlated r = .54, p < .01. These results suggest interventions designed to increase physical activity by reducing access to sedentary behaviors may need to consider the value of the targeted sedentary behavior and the extent to which the sedentary behaviors compete with physical activity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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