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March 2013

Physical Activity and Screen-Time Viewing Among Elementary School–Aged Children in the United States From 2009 to 2010

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Division of Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hyattsville (Drs Fakhouri, Kit, and Ogden, Mr Hughes, and Ms Brody), and US Public Health Service, Rockville (Dr Kit), Maryland; and Epidemic Intelligence Service, Office of Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia (Dr Fakhouri).

JAMA Pediatr. 2013;167(3):223-229. doi:10.1001/2013.jamapediatrics.122

Objectives To describe the percentage of children who met physical activity and screen-time recommendations and to examine demographic differences. Recommendations for school-aged children include 60 minutes of daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and no more than 2 hours per day of screen-time viewing.

Design Cross-sectional study.

Setting Data from the 2009-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a representative sample of the US population.

Participants Analysis included 1218 children 6 to 11 years of age.

Main Exposures Age, race/ethnicity, sex, income, family structure, and obesity status.

Main Outcome Measures Proxy-reported adherence to physical activity and screen-time recommendations, separately and concurrently.

Results Based on proxy reports, overall, 70% of children met physical activity recommendations, and 54% met screen-time viewing recommendations. Although Hispanics were less likely to meet physical activity recommendations (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 0.60 [95% CI, 0.38-0.95]), they were more likely to meet screen-time recommendations compared with non-Hispanic whites (aOR, 1.69 [95% CI, 1.18-2.43]). Only 38% met both recommendations concurrently. Age (9-11 years vs 6-8 years: aOR, 0.57 [95% CI, 0.38-0.85]) and obesity (aOR, 0.53 [95% CI, 0.38-0.73]) were inversely associated with concurrent adherence to both recommendations.

Conclusions Fewer than 4 in 10 children met both physical activity and screen-time recommendations concurrently. The prevalence of sedentary behavior was higher in older children. Low levels of screen-time viewing may not necessarily predict higher levels of physical activity.