Brescia Food and Nutritional Sciences Publications


Understanding Screen-related Sedentary Behavior and Its Contributing Factors among School-aged Children: A Social-ecologic Exploration

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American Journal of Health Promotion

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Purpose: To explore the factors that contribute to children's screen-related sedentary (S-RS) behaviors.

Settings: Elementary schools.

Subjects: A random sample of children in grades five and six and their parents.

Measures: The outcome measure was children's S-RS activity level measured by a self-administered questionnaire. A full spectrum of potential contributing factors for children's S-RS behaviors was obtained through surveys. Multilevel linear regression methods were used to determine the associations between these factors and children's screen time (hours per day) and results were expressed as regression coefficients (g).

Results: Of 955 child-parent pairs in 14 participating schools, 508 pairs (53%) completed the surveys. At an intrapersonal level, protective factors included being a girl (g = -.71); belonging to a sports team inside (g = -.56) or outside (g = -.49) of school; having a negative attitude toward S-RS activities (g = -.13); and having a positive attitude toward physical activity (g = .48). At the interpersonal and social levels, parental leisure S-RS behaviors (g = .32) were positively associated, whereas strict parental rules on computer use (g = -.27) and family income (g = -.32) were inversely correlated with S-RS behavior. At the environmental level, the presence of TVs in children's bedrooms (g = .44) and owning videogame devices (g = .58) increased the risk of S-RS behaviors, whereas after school programs (g = - .86) and schools' participation in the Turn Off the Screen Week campaign (g = -.91) decreased the risk.

Conclusions: Public health interventions should target multilevel factors, including increasing children's awareness, promoting parental involvement in healthy lifestyle pursuits, and creating less screenogenic environments.

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