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Int J Pediatr Obes. 2009;4(4):353-9. doi: 10.3109/17477160902934777.

Profiles of sedentary behavior in children and adolescents: the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2001-2006.

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Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, LA, USA.



To describe the prevalence of time spent in sedentary behaviors (e.g., TV/video and computer use) among youth in the US.


The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2001-06) provided data to examine sedentary behavior across age groups (2-5, 6-11, and 12-15 years of age), ethnic groups (European [EA], African [AA], and Mexican American [MA]), and body mass index (BMI) categories (normal weight, overweight, obese).


The sample included 8 707 (50.7% boys) children aged 2 to 15 years. Seventy percent of the sample was normal weight, 18.1% was overweight, and 11.5% was obese. The total proportion of young people engaged in TV/video viewing, computer use, and total screen time > or = 2 hours daily was 33.0%, 6.7%, and 47.3%, respectively. More boys (49.4%) than girls (45.0%); older (12-15 years: 56.0%) versus younger children (2-5 years: 35.3% and 6-11 years: 49.1%); AA (66.1%) versus EA (42.5%) and MA (46.1%); obese (58.5%) versus overweight (50.8%) versus normal weight (44.6%); and low and middle income (<$25 K: 51.4% and $25-45 K: 51.2%) versus high income (>$45 K: 42.6%) children spent > or = 2 hours daily in screen time.


Nearly half (47%) of US children exceed > or = 2 hours/day of time in sedentary behavior. Further, it appears there are gender, age, ethnic, BMI-defined weight status, and income differences in exceeding > or = 2 hours/day in sedentary behavior. These results will be useful in planning targeted interventions at those populations with a higher prevalence of sedentary behavior.

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