Sedentary activity bout length was associated with BMI and waist circumference in Swedish children aged 5-7 years

Acta Paediatr. 2021 Jul;110(7):2157-2163. doi: 10.1111/apa.15866. Epub 2021 May 2.


Aim: This study examined the pattern of sedentary behaviour during the week and on weekends and associations with health outcomes among children aged 5-7 years in Sweden.

Methods: This cross-sectional study used data from 342 children, many of whom had at least one parent born outside the Nordic region. Physical activity and sedentary time were measured by accelerometry. A sedentary bout was defined as 1-4 and 5-9 min. Diet, time in front of television or computer screen, sleep and physical activity behaviour were measured via parental reports, and anthropometric data by research staff.

Results: The number of sedentary bouts was higher on weekends than on weekdays. Compared to girls, boys had more 1-4 min bouts on both weekdays and weekend days, and more 5-9 min bouts on weekends. A higher number of 5-9 min bouts was associated with a higher body mass index and waist circumference.

Conclusion: This study showed an association between sedentary activity and weight status in children as young as 5-7 years. Reducing time, especially longer bouts, spent in sedentary activities may encourage healthy weight development in children.

Keywords: A Healthy School Start; diet; health promotion; physical activity; screen time.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accelerometry*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Waist Circumference