Pubertal development and sedentary behaviour during adolescence

Ann Hum Biol. 2004 Jan-Feb;31(1):75-86. doi: 10.1080/03014460310001636589.


Background: Assessing time spent in sedentary behaviours in relation to pubertal status, anthropometric differences, and body image will improve insight into the prevalence and determinants of such behaviours during adolescence.

Aim: The study aimed to investigate the effects of age, puberty, gender, body composition, and sleep on sedentary behaviour.

Participants and methods: Participants were 64 boys and 55 girls in Year 6 (10.0-10.9 years of age), Year 8 (12.0-12.9 years) and Year 10 (14.0-14.9 years). Body mass index and percentage body fat were calculated from anthropometric measures. Sedentary behaviour and sleep time were computed using momentary-time sampling. Body image was measured using the Children's Physical Self-Perception Profile. Pubertal status was assessed from self-report of secondary sexual characteristics.

Results: After controlling for sleep time, no differences in sedentary time were seen for puberty onset or increased pubertal development. Correlations between pubertal status, body composition, and body image were stronger in girls than in boys. Correlations between body image and sedentary behaviour were not strong enough to infer behavioural choice differences.

Conclusions: Reduced sleep time rather than changing body image and body composition during adolescence is associated with greater sedentary behaviour.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Anthropometry*
  • Body Composition
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Puberty / physiology*
  • Self Concept
  • Sex Factors
  • Sleep