Household-level correlates of children's physical activity levels in and across 12 countries

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2016 Oct;24(10):2150-7. doi: 10.1002/oby.21618. Epub 2016 Aug 25.


Objective: Household factors (electronic media equipment, play equipment, physical activity in the home, and social support) have been associated with childhood moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity (MVPA), but little is known about how these factors differ across diverse countries. The objective was to explore household correlates of objective MVPA in children from 12 countries.

Methods: Overall, 5,859 nine- to eleven-year-old children from 12 countries representing a range of human and socioeconomic development indicators wore an accelerometer for 7 days and parents reported on household factors. Multilevel general linear models explored associations among household factors and MVPA variables controlling for age, sex, and parental education.

Results: Across sites, children with at least one piece of bedroom electronic media had lower MVPA (∼4 min/day; P < 0.001) than those who did not. More frequent physical activity in the home and yard, ownership of more frequently used play equipment, and higher social support for physical activity were associated with more MVPA (all P < 0.001). The association between play equipment ownership and MVPA was inconsistent across countries (interaction P < 0.01).

Conclusions: With the exception of play equipment ownership, modifiable household factors showed largely consistent and important associations with MVPA across high-, mid-, and low-income countries.

Trial registration: NCT01722500.

MeSH terms

  • Accelerometry
  • Child
  • Electronics*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Family Characteristics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Parents
  • Social Support*
  • Socioeconomic Factors

Associated data