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Prev Chronic Dis. 2010 Nov;7(6):A128. Epub 2010 Oct 15.

School and student characteristics associated with screen-time sedentary behavior among students in grades 5-8, Ontario, Canada, 2007-2008.

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Department of Population Studies and Surveillance, Cancer Care Ontario, 620 University Ave, Toronto ON M5G 2L7, Canada.



We examined school and student characteristics associated with screen-time sedentary behavior.


We analyzed data collected from 2,449 students in grades 5 through 8 who attended 30 elementary schools in Ontario, Canada. We used multilevel logistic regression to examine the student- and school-level factors associated with moderate and high screen-time sedentary behavior.


Moderate screen time did not vary significantly across schools. Student characteristics significantly associated with moderate screen time were sex, number of friends who are active, and parental encouragement of physical activity. High screen time did vary significantly across schools; school-level differences accounted for 12% of the variability in the odds of a student reporting high screen time. Students who attended a school in the more advanced phase of emphasizing participation in physical activity through school programs were less likely to report high screen time compared with students who attended schools in the earlier phase for this school-level indicator. Student characteristics significantly associated with high screen time were sex, parental encouragement of physical activity, parental support of physical activity, and race/ethnicity.


High levels of screen-time sedentary behavior are associated with both student characteristics and the characteristics of the school a student attends. Developing a better understanding of the school characteristics associated with sedentary behavior will be valuable for guiding the development of interventions to reduce sedentary behavior among youth populations.

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