Tracking of sedentary behaviours of young people: a systematic review

Prev Med. 2010 Nov;51(5):345-51. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2010.07.018. Epub 2010 Aug 1.


Objective: To review the empirical evidence concerning the strength of tracking of sedentary behaviours from childhood and adolescence.

Methods: Published English language studies were located from computerised and manual searches in 2009. Included studies were prospective, longitudinal studies with at least one sedentary behaviour for at least two time-points, with tracking coefficients reported, and included children (aged 3-11 years) and adolescents (12-18 years) at baseline.

Results: Based on data from 21 independent samples, tracking coefficients (r) ranged from 0.08 (over 16 years) to 0.73 (over 2 years) for TV viewing, from 0.18 (boys over 3 years) to 0.52 (over 2 years) for electronic game/computer use, from 0.16 (girls over 4 years) to 0.65 (boys over 2 years) for total screen time, and from -0.15 (boys over 2 years) to 0.48 (over 1 year) for total sedentary time. Study follow-up periods ranged from 1 to up to 27 years, and tracking coefficients tended to be higher with shorter follow-ups.

Conclusions: Sedentary behaviours track at moderate levels from childhood or adolescence. Data suggest that sedentary behaviours may form the foundation for such behaviours in the future and some may track slightly better than physical activity.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child Behavior
  • Child, Preschool
  • Computers / statistics & numerical data
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Motor Activity
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Television / statistics & numerical data
  • Time
  • Video Games / statistics & numerical data