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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Volume, patterns, and types of sedentary behavior and cardio-metabolic health in children and adolescents: a cross-sectional study

Valerie Carson1 and Ian Janssen12*

Author affiliations

1 School of Kinesiology and Health Studies, Queen's University, Kingston, ON, Canada

2 Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, Queen's University, Kingston, ON, Canada

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Citation and License

BMC Public Health 2011, 11:274  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-274

Published: 4 May 2011

Abstract

Background

Cardio-metabolic risk factors are becoming more prevalent in children and adolescents. A lack of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity (MVPA) is an established determinant of cardio-metabolic risk factors in children and adolescents. Less is known about the relationship between sedentary behavior and cardio-metabolic health. Therefore, the objective was to examine the independent associations between volume, patterns, and types of sedentary behavior with cardio-metabolic risk factors among children and adolescents.

Methods

The results are based on 2527 children and adolescents (6-19 years old) from the 2003/04 and 2005/06 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES). A cardio-metabolic risk score (CRS) was calculated based on age- and sex-adjusted waist circumference, systolic blood pressure, non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and C-reactive protein values. Volume and patterns of sedentary behavior and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) were measured objectively using accelerometers. Types of sedentary behavior were measured by questionnaire. A series of logistic regression models were used to examine associations.

Results

Volume and patterns of sedentary behavior were not predictors of high CRS after adjusting for MVPA and other confounders (P > 0.1). For types of sedentary behavior, high TV use, but not high computer use, was a predictor of high CRS after adjustment for MVPA and other confounders. Children and adolescents who watched ≥4 hours per day of TV were 2.53 (95% confidence interval: 1.45-4.42) times more likely to have high CRS than those who watched <1 hour per day. MVPA predicted high CRS after adjusting for all sedentary behavior measures and other confounders. After adjustment for waist circumference, MVPA also predicted high non-obesity CRS; however, the same relationship was not seen with TV use.

Conclusion

No association was observed between overall volume and patterns of sedentary behavior with cardio-metabolic risk factors in this large sample of children and adolescents. Conversely, high TV use and low MVPA were independently associated with cardio-metabolic risk factors. However, the association between high TV use and clustered cardio-metabolic risk factors appears to be mediated or confounded by obesity. Thus, TV and MVPA appear to be two separate behaviors that need to be targeted with different interventions and policies.