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Sedentary behaviour and diet across the lifespan: an updated systematic review
  1. Matthew Hobbs1,
  2. Natalie Pearson2,
  3. Perry J Foster2,
  4. Stuart J H Biddle2,3
  1. 1Carnegie, Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds, UK
  2. 2School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK
  3. 3The NIHR Leicester-Loughborough Diet, Lifestyle and Physical Activity Biomedical Research Unit [Now at Institute of Sport, Exercise & Active Living, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia]
  1. Correspondence to Matthew Hobbs, 227 Fairfax Hall, Headingley Campus, Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds, LS6 3QT, UK; m.hobbs{at}


Background Sedentary behaviour and its association with dietary intake in young people and adults are important topics and were systematically reviewed in 2011. There is a need to update this evidence given the changing nature of sedentary behaviour and continued interest in this field. This review aims to assist researchers in better interpreting the diversity of findings concerning sedentary behaviour and weight status.

Objective To provide an update of the associations between sedentary behaviour and dietary intake across the lifespan.

Methods Electronic databases searched were MEDLINE, PsychInfo, Cochrane Library, Web of Science and Science Direct for publications between January 2010 and October 2013, thus updating a previous review. Included were observational studies assessing an association between at least one sedentary behaviour and at least one aspect of dietary intake in preschool children (<5 years), school-aged children (6–11 years), adolescents (12–18 years) and adults (>18 years).

Results 27 papers met inclusion criteria (preschool k=3, school-aged children k=9, adolescents k=15, adults k=3). For all three groups of young people, trends were evident for higher levels of sedentary behaviour, especially TV viewing, to be associated with a less healthful diet, such as less fruit and vegetable and greater consumption of energy-dense snacks and sugar sweetened beverages. Data for the three studies with adults were less conclusive.

Conclusions Sedentary behaviour continues to be associated with unhealthy diet in young people in mostly cross-sectional studies. More studies utilising a prospective design are needed to corroborate findings and more studies are needed with adults.

  • Children
  • Adolescent
  • Nutrition
  • Food intake/body weight regulation

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