Sedentary Behaviour and Health among Young People
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The overall objectives of this thesis were to (1) describe the sedentary behaviour levels of young people; (2) examine the impact of sedentary behaviour on obesity and other physical health outcomes among young people; and (3) examine the influence that individual, social, and environmental factors have on the sedentary behaviour of young people. Six manuscripts addressed these objectives. Manuscript one assessed the proportion of 0- to 4-year-olds meeting the new Canadian Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for the Early Years in a sample of pre-school children. More than half of the children exceeded the guidelines and the majority of their parents believed that their child did not engage in excessive screen time. Manuscript two examined the association between types, overall volume, and patterns of sedentary behaviour with cardio-metabolic risk factors in a sample of children and adolescents. Television viewing predicted cardio-metabolic risk factors independent of moderate-to vigorous-intensity physical activity. No associations were observed for the other sedentary behaviour components. Manuscript three examined whether the relationship between television viewing and obesity in a sample of youth was mediated by dietary habits. While a positive association was observed between television viewing and body mass index, it was not explained by dietary habits. Manuscript four examined urban-rural differences in screen time in two samples of youth. Rural American youth were the most likely to be excessive television users and the least likely to be excessive computer users. Conversely, urban Canadian youth were the least likely to be excessive television users and the most likely to be excessive computer users. Manuscript five examined the association between neighbourhood disorder and screen time in a sample of youth. Participants in neighbourhoods with high social and high physical disorder were the most likely to engage in excessive screen time. Manuscript six examined associations between factors within the home setting and screen time among a sample of pre-school children. Several factors collectively explained 64.1% of the variance in television viewing including parental cognitive factors, which explained 41.0%. The findings of this thesis have important implications for future public health interventions and initiatives as well as future research in this area.