Deakin University
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It's not just the television: survey analysis of sedentary behaviour in New Zealand young people

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-17, 17:33 authored by LS Foley, Ralph MaddisonRalph Maddison, Y Jiang, T Olds, K Ridley
BACKGROUND: Sedentary behaviour has been linked with adverse health outcomes in young people; however, the nature and context of being sedentary is poorly understood. Accurate quantification and description of sedentary behaviour using population-level data is required. The aim of this research was to describe sedentary behaviour among New Zealand (NZ) youth and examine whether sedentary behaviour differs by Body Mass Index (BMI) status in this population. METHODS: A national representative cross-sectional survey of young people aged 5-24 years (n = 2,503) was conducted in 2008-2009. Data from this survey, which included subjectively (recall diary; n = 1,309) and objectively (accelerometry; n = 960) measured sedentary behaviour for participants aged 10-18 years were analysed using survey weighted methods. RESULTS: Participants self-reported spending on average 521 minutes per day (standard error [SE] 5.29) in total sedentary behaviour, 181 minutes per day (SE 3.91) in screen-based sedentary activities (e.g., television and video games), and 340 minutes per day (SE 5.22) in other non-screen sedentary behaviours (e.g., school, passive transport and self-care). Accelerometer-measured total sedentary behaviour was on average 420 minutes per day (SE 4.26), or 53% (SE 0.42%) of monitored time. There were no statistically significant differences in time spent in sedentary behaviour among overweight, obese and healthy/underweight young people. CONCLUSIONS: Both subjective and objective methods indicate that NZ youth spend much of their waking time being sedentary. No relationships were found between sedentary behaviour and BMI status. These findings extend previous research by describing engagement in specific sedentary activities, as well as quantifying the behaviour using an objective method. Differences in what aspects of sedentary behaviour the two methods are capturing are discussed. This research highlights the potential for future interventions to target specific sedentary behaviours or demographic groups.



International journal of behavioral nutrition and physical activity



Article number





London, Eng.





Publication classification

C Journal article, C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2011, The Authors


BioMed Central