Background: Research on children's sedentary behavior has relied on recall-based self-report or accelerometer methods, which do not assess the context of such behavior.
Purpose: This study used ecological momentary assessment (EMA) to determine where and with whom children's sedentary behavior occurs during their nonschool time.
Methods: Children (N = 120) ages 9-13 years (51% male, 33% Hispanic) wore mobile phones that prompted surveys (20 total) for 4 days. Surveys measured current activity (eg, exercise, watching TV), physical location (eg, home, outdoors), and social company (eg, family, friends).
Results: Children engaged in a greater percentage of leisure-oriented (eg, watching TV) than productive (eg, reading, doing homework) sedentary behavior (70% vs 30%, respectively). Most of children's sedentary activity occurred at home (85%). Children's sedentary activity took place most often with family members (58%). Differences in physical context of sedentary behavior were found for older vs. younger children (P < .05). Type of sedentary behavior differed by gender, racial/ethnic group, and social context (P < .05).
Conclusion: Children may prefer or have greater opportunities to be sedentary in some contexts than others. Research demonstrates the potential for using EMA to capture real-time information about children's sedentary behavior during their nonschool time.