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Objectively Measured Sedentary Time in Children and Their Parents

R Hughes, Adrienne; J Muggeridge, David; Gibson, Ann-Marie; Johnstone, Avril; Kirk, Alison


Adrienne R Hughes

Ann-Marie Gibson

Avril Johnstone

Alison Kirk


Background: No studies have examined associations in objectively measured sedentary time between parents and young people using activPAL posture sensors, which provide a more accurate estimate of sedentary time compared to accelerometer-based devices. This study examines patterns and associations of activPAL measured sedentary time and number of sedentary breaks on weekdays and weekend days in preschool (2–4 yrs), primary (5–11 yrs) and secondary school aged children (12–17 yrs) and their parents. Methods: 51 parents (16 M, 35 F; mean age 39 (+/-8) yrs) and 51 children (28 M, 23 F; mean age 9 (+/-5) yrs) wore an activPAL monitor for 7 days to measure time spent sedentary and number of breaks in sedentary time. Data was assessed by Pearson’s correlations and t-tests. Results: Secondary school children spent a greater percentage of their day sedentary (64.5 (+/-8.5) %) than preschool (57.4 (+/-7.3) %) and primary school children (57.2 (+/-5) %). For the secondary school parent dyad, there were no significant positive associations for time sedentary (r = -0.167, p = 0.494) and percentage of day sedentary (r = -0.247, p = 0.308). For the primary school parent dyad, there were medium, but non-significant positive correlations for time sedentary (r = 0.38, p = 0.146) and percentage of day sedentary (r = 0.363, p = 0.167). For the preschool parent dyad, there were medium—large positive correlations for percentage of waking day sedentary at weekends (r = 0.479, p = 0.083) and number of sedentary breaks (r = 0.648, p = 0.012) at weekends. Conclusions: There were positive associations in sedentary time between primary school children and their parents, and between preschool children and their parents at the weekend. Thus, interventions aimed at reducing sedentary time of parents and children together, particularly at the weekend for young children, may be effective in these age groups. Secondary school children were more sedentary and had fewer sedentary breaks than younger children, thus interventions should promote breaks in sedentary time as well as reducing total sedentary time in this age group.


R Hughes, A., J Muggeridge, D., Gibson, A., Johnstone, A., & Kirk, A. (2016). Objectively Measured Sedentary Time in Children and Their Parents. AIMS public health, 3(4), 823-836.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 23, 2016
Publication Date 2016
Deposit Date Oct 22, 2020
Publicly Available Date Oct 23, 2020
Journal AIMS Public Health
Print ISSN 2327-8994
Publisher AIMS Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 3
Issue 4
Pages 823-836
Keywords Sedentary behaviour; objective measurement; children; adolescents; activPAL
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Objectively Measured Sedentary Time In Children And Their Parents (<nobr>380 Kb</nobr>)

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This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licese (

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