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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.

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The Generation R Study Group, Erasmus MC-University Medical Centre Rotterdam, PO Box 2040, 3000 CA Rotterdam, The Netherlands.



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.

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