Objective: To identify behavioural and social correlates of objectively-measured sedentary time in young people.
Design: Cross-sectional analysis of data from the European Youth Heart Study (EYHS).
Setting: Schools in Denmark, Estonia, Portugal and Norway.
Participants: Invited using a two-stage cluster sampling procedure. Analyses include 2107 children (9-10 years) and adolescents (14-15 years).
Assessment of independent variables: Seven behavioral and 15 social variables assessed by parental and computerized child questionnaires.
Main outcome measure: Sedentary activity as assessed by accelerometry (10-minute blocks at <200 counts/minute). Analyses were stratified by country and interactions with grade and gender were investigated.
Results: Adolescents were more sedentary than children (335.4 (SD: 90.4) vs. 217.2 (SD: 75.6) minutes/day, p<0.001). Patterns of associations differed across countries. High computer use and no television viewing before school in Norway, and being sedentary during school-breaks in Estonia were positively associated with sedentary time. No behavioural variables were associated with sedentary time in the Danish and Portuguese models. Socioeconomic position was positively associated with sedentary time in Portugal and Estonia, father¡¦s body mass index negatively in the Estonian model. Norwegian participants with a games console at home and Portuguese participants with a television in their bedroom were more sedentary.
Conclusions: A single strategy aimed at reducing sedentary behaviour is unlikely to be effective across Europe as the target populations and behaviours of focus differ between countries. Targeting high socioeconomic groups in Portugal and Estonia or focusing on reducing computer use in Norway might be effective intervention strategies to reduce overall sedentary time.
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