Electronic-based sedentary behaviour among children within the family home environment: a descriptive study

Joanna Granich

Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis

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[Truncated abstract] This descriptive study identified correlates of electronic media use among pre-adolescent children (10-12 year olds). It specifically focused on the potential influence of individual factors and the social and physical environment within the family home setting. The prevalence of overweight/obesity in children is escalating. Sedentary behaviour in the form of electronic media use (comprised of television (TV) and video/DVD viewing, video and computer gaming, and computer use) is a contributing and a modifiable risk factor for overweight/obesity. To date, research focused on sedentary behaviour has been largely derived from physical (in)activity data where the absence or observed low levels of physical activity participation or TV viewing only has been used as a proxy for sedentariness. Little is known about the specificities of children's electronic media use; its impact on children's overall leisure and screen-time; and, the potential influencing factors that may operate at the home level. The family home is a context-specific setting where electronic media use is a daily practice for most children. To better understand electronic-based sedentary behaviour among children the following specific aims were addressed; 1) To describe children's leisure time, particularly time spent with electronic media. 2) To explore children and parents' perceptions about electronic-based sedentary behaviour. 3) To determine the prevalence of children's electronic-media use at home. 4) To examine the influence of individual, family social and home physical factors associated with different levels of electronic media use by children. ... The availability and accessibility of a variety of electronic equipment at home, especially in the child's bedroom (particularly among boys), was also associated with children's screen behaviour. Physical aspects of the family home (i.e., lay-out and yard size) had a mixed effect on children's electronic media use. Overall, the nature of electronic media use among children is complex and is influenced by dimensions that present at children's individual, family social and physical home level. The knowledge generated from this study about specific correlates of electronic media use has extended the understanding about its impact on children's discretionary time. Future prospective longitudinal research is warranted given that most studies investigating electronic media and sedentary behaviour are of cross-sectional design. Including other forms of sedentary behaviour such as sitting and talking with friends and family, reading and/or using telephones may provide a more comprehensive measure of sedentariness in the future. Further studies should use multivariate statistical analyses (i.e., modelling) to improve clarity of relationships between multiple variables and gauge mediating factors. This study also calls for future intervention research. Findings on gender-specific correlates of electronic media use provide superior information for the development of tailored behaviour modification strategies aimed at girls and boys respectively. Active involvement of household members in the intervention is also warranted. Utilising this study's findings may strengthen intervention outcomes towards a more directed and sustained behaviour change
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2009


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