Correlates of sedentary behaviours in preschool children: a review

Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2010 Sep 8:7:66. doi: 10.1186/1479-5868-7-66.


Background: Sedentary behaviour has been linked with a number of health outcomes. Preschool-aged children spend significant proportions of their day engaged in sedentary behaviours. Research into the correlates of sedentary behaviours in the preschool population is an emerging field, with most research being published since 2002. Reviews on correlates of sedentary behaviours which include preschool children have previously been published; however, none have reported results specific to the preschool population. This paper reviews articles reporting on correlates of sedentary behaviour in preschool children published between 1993 and 2009.

Methods: A literature search was undertaken to identify articles which examined correlates of sedentary behaviours in preschool children. Articles were retrieved and evaluated in 2008 and 2009.

Results: Twenty-nine studies were identified which met the inclusion criteria. From those studies, 63 potential correlates were identified. Television viewing was the most commonly examined sedentary behaviour. Findings from the review suggest that child's sex was not associated with television viewing and had an indeterminate association with sedentary behaviour as measured by accelerometry. Age, body mass index, parental education and race had an indeterminate association with television viewing, and outdoor playtime had no association with television viewing. The remaining 57 potential correlates had been investigated too infrequently to be able to draw robust conclusions about associations.

Conclusions: The correlates of preschool children's sedentary behaviours are multi-dimensional and not well established. Further research is required to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the influences on preschool children's sedentary behaviours to better inform the development of interventions.