The purpose of this research was to investigate the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and sedentariness (Sed) in children and to examine the influence of child and school correlates on their variation. The sample comprises 580 children (337 girls, 9-11 years). Sedentariness was assessed with an accelerometer, and BMI was computed. Child- and school-level covariates were analyzed using multilevel models. No significant correlation between Sed and BMI was found. School context explains 5% and 1.5% of the total variance in Sed and BMI, respectively. At the child level, only moderate-to-vigorous physical activity was associated with both Sed (β = -0.02 ± 0.002) and BMI (β = -0.005 ± 0.002). Sleep time is related to Sed (β = -0.42 ± 0.04), while sex (β = 1.97 ± 0.13), biological maturity (β = 1.25 ± 0.07), media in the bedroom (β = 0.26 ± 0.08) and healthy (β = -0.09 ± 0.03) and unhealthy (β = -0.07 ± 0.04) diet scores were associated with BMI. None of the school-level covariates were related to BMI, but access to cafeteria (β = -0.97 ± 0.25), playground equipment (β = -0.67 ± 0.20) and restaurants (β = 0.16 ± 0.08) were related to Sed. In conclusion, Sed and BMI were not correlated. Further, they have different correlates, while children's traits seem to play more relevant roles in their differences in Sed and BMI than the school milieu. This information should be taken into account when strategies to reduce Sed and BMI are implemented.
Keywords: BMI; children; multilevel analysis; sedentariness.