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The aim of the present study was to investigate if context-specific measures of parental-reported physical activity and sedentary behaviour are associated with objectively measured physical activity and sedentary time in children.
Seven European countries taking part in the IDEFICS (Identification and Prevention of Dietary- and Lifestyle-induced Health Effects in Children and Infants) study.
Data were analysed from 2–9-year-old children (n 5982) who provided both parental-reported and accelerometer-derived physical activity/sedentary behaviour measures. Parents reported their children’s daily screen-time, weekly sports participation and daily outdoor playtime by means of the Outdoor Playtime Checklist (OPC) and Outdoor Playtime Recall Questions (OPRQ).
Sports participation, OPC- and OPRQ-derived outdoor play were positively associated with accelerometer-derived physical activity. Television viewing and computer use were positively associated with accelerometer-derived sedentary time. All parental-reported measures that were significantly associated with accelerometer outcomes explained only a minor part of the variance in accelerometer-derived physical activity or sedentary time.
Parental-reported measures of physical activity and sedentary behaviour are not useful as a proxy for 2–9-year-old children’s physical activity and sedentary time. Findings do not preclude the use of context-specific measures but imply that conclusions should be limited to the context-specific behaviours that are actually measured. Depending on the aim of the study, future research should carefully consider the choice of measurements, including the use of subjective or objective measures of the behaviour of interest or a combination of both.
To estimate the prevalence of physical activity and sedentary behaviours in European children, and to evaluate the relationship between media availability in personal space and physical activity in relation to total screen time.
Data from the baseline IDEFICS (Identification and prevention of dietary- and lifestyle-induced health effects in children and infants) cross-sectional survey. Information on hours of television/digital video disk/video viewing and computer/games-console use (weekday and weekend days), media device availability in personal space, sports club membership, hours of active organized play and commuting (to and from school) were assessed via a self-reported parental questionnaire. Total screen time was defined as the sum of daily media use and subsequently dichotomized into meeting or not meeting the guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Percentage of children engaged in total screen time for >2 h/d was higher on weekend days (52 % v. 20 % on weekdays) and in the older group (71 % in males; 57 % in females), varying by country. Children with a television set in their bedroom were more likely not to meet the screen time recommendations (OR = 1·54; 95 % CI 1·60, 1·74).
Approximately a third of the children failed to meet current screen time recommendations. Availability of a television set in personal space increased the risk of excess total screen time. This information could be used to identify potential targets for public health promotion actions of young population groups.
The increasing prevalence of childhood overweight is an important health issue. There is a need for longitudinal research among children in order to identify risk factors for childhood overweight. The objective of the present research was to identify potential sociodemographic and behavioural risk factors for development of childhood overweight among 3- to 6-year-old children.
Sixteen pre-primary and primary schools.
BMI Z-scores at baseline and two follow-up measurements were calculated for 568 children. Sociodemographic, parental adiposity, familial composition, child's diet, physical activity and sedentary behavioural data were collected through questionnaires.
Several risk factors for the development of childhood overweight were found. Being an only child, lower maternal educational level, maternal and paternal overweight, more than 1 h screen time on weekdays and high soft drinks consumption were shown to be positively associated with the development of childhood overweight.
Although behavioural factors are important, our findings support the thesis that interventions on the prevention of childhood overweight should focus on high-risk groups, i.e. children from low socio-economic background or with high parental BMI. Interventions should address the whole family and take into account their lifestyle and structure.
The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effects of a 1-year family-based healthy lifestyle intervention implemented through day-care centres on toddlers’ BMI Z-scores and reported activity- and dietary-related behaviours.
Pilot cluster-randomized controlled trial.
Seventy child-care centres in three different intervention communities and three paired-matched control communities in Flanders, Belgium.
A sample of 203 Belgian toddlers aged 9–24 months was included in the study. Objectively assessed weight and height were used to calculate BMI Z-scores. A parental-report questionnaire was used to assess children's lifestyle behaviours.
Positive intervention effects were found on BMI Z-score. No intervention effects were found for activity- and dietary-related behaviours targeted by the intervention. In both intervention and control groups, daily consumption of water, soft drinks, sweets and savoury snacks increased while daily consumption of fruit and vegetables decreased over 1 year. Daily physical activity remained stable but screen-time behaviour increased in both groups over time.
The study showed that a family-based healthy lifestyle intervention implemented through day-care centres can lead to healthier weight outcomes in toddlers. In both groups, an unhealthier lifestyle pattern was observed over 1 year which underlines the importance of the early childhood period as the focus of future behavioural interventions.
The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the effects of a school-based, 2-year, multi-component intervention on BMI, eating and physical activity behaviour in Flanders, Belgium, targeting children aged 3–6 years in communities of high and low socio-economic status (SES).
Cluster-randomized controlled trial.
Thirty-one pre-primary and primary schools in three different intervention communities and three paired-matched (on SES profile) control communities in Flanders, Belgium.
BMI Z-scores at baseline and follow-up were calculated for 1102 children. Questionnaires with sociodemographic data and FFQ were available from 694 of these 1102 children.
No significant effects were found on BMI Z-scores for the total sample. However, there was a significant decrease in BMI Z-score of 0·11 in the low-SES intervention community compared with the low-SES control community, where the BMI Z-score increased by 0·04 (F = 6·26, P = 0·01). No significant intervention effects could be found for eating behaviour, physical activity or screen-time. There were no significant interaction effects of age and gender of the children on the outcome variables.
Although no significant effects were found for BMI Z-scores in the total sample, this intervention had a promising effect in the low-SES community of reducing excess weight gain among young children.
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