Is the neighbourhood environment associated with sedentary behaviour outside of school hours among children?

Ann Behav Med. 2011 Jun;41(3):333-41. doi: 10.1007/s12160-011-9260-6.


Background: Little is known about neighbourhood environments and children's sedentary behaviour outside school hours.

Purpose: This study aims to examine the associations between public open spaces (POS), parent perceptions of the neighbourhood and children's sedentary behaviours.

Methods: Parents reported their child's television viewing and computer/electronic game time and their perceptions of the physical and social neighbourhood. Children's sedentary time was objectively assessed. The closest POS was audited.

Results: Cross-sectionally, living near a POS with a water feature and greater parental satisfaction with POS quality were negatively associated with computer/e-games; greater POS area was negatively associated with TV viewing. Longitudinally, living in a cul-de-sac and greater satisfaction with POS quality were negatively associated with computer/e-games and TV viewing, respectively. A walking path in the POS was positively associated with computer/e-games.

Conclusion: Neighbourhood features appear to positively and negatively influence children's sedentary behaviours, highlighting the complexity of urban planning on behaviour. Further age- and context-specific studies are required.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Environment*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities / psychology*
  • Male
  • Parents / psychology
  • Perception
  • Residence Characteristics*
  • Sedentary Behavior