Associations between children's socioeconomic status, weight status, and sex, with screen-based sedentary behaviours and sport participation

Int J Pediatr Obes. 2009;4(4):299-305. doi: 10.3109/17477160902811215.


Objective: The objective was to study associations between socioeconomic status (SES), weight status, and sex, with children's participation in sedentary behaviours and sport.

Methods: Children (aged 9-10 years; n = 6,337) completed a questionnaire to establish how long they spent in sedentary behaviours and sport participation during week days and weekend days. Height and weight were measured to calculate body mass index. Associations between dependent and independent variables were investigated using hierarchical loglinear analysis.

Results: A significantly greater proportion of boys than girls spent > or = 1 h per weekday and weekend day watching television (TV) (p < 0.001), playing video games (p < 0.001), and participating in sport (p < 0.001). TV viewing and video gaming for > or = 1 h per day were inversely associated with SES (p = 0.001), whilst the greatest proportion of children participating in sport for > or = 1 h were in the highest SES quartile (p < 0.001). Overweight girls were more likely than normal weight girls to use the internet for > or = 1 h per weekend day (p < 0.001).

Conclusions: Relatively more lower SES children spent time in sedentary behaviours than sport participation. Weight status was not consistently associated with sedentary behaviours. Proportionately more boys than girls watched TV, played video games, and participated in sport, suggesting that boys find time for sedentary behaviours and physical activity. Efforts should be made to address inequalities in the prevalence of sedentary behaviours and sport participation for all children regardless of SES, weight status, or sex.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Body Height
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • Child Behavior*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Class*
  • Sports*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Television
  • Time Factors
  • Video Games