Correlates of sedentary time in young children: A systematic review

Publication Name

European Journal of Sport Science


Background: Young children appear to spend large portions of their waking time being sedentary. Understanding the correlates of sedentary time would assist in developing effective interventions among young children. The purpose of this systematic review was to summarize the current literature on the correlates of objectively measured sedentary time in young children aged 1-5.99y. Methods: This review was registered with PROSPERO (registration no. CRD42017081374) and aligned with the PRISMA Statement for systematic reviews. Five electronic databases (MEDline, CINAHL Complete, PsycINFO, SportDiscus, Scopus) were searched up to October 26, 2017 for studies investigating correlates of sedentary time measured using objective devices. A semiquantitative approach was used to synthesize data. Results: Forty-five studies were retrieved comprising 13,430 participants, and 84 correlates of sedentary time in young children were evaluated. The associations between sex, sleep habits, daily patterns (childcare vs. non-childcare hours), childcare type and sedentary time were indeterminate. Thirty-nine correlates were consistently unrelated. Forty-one potential correlates were examined in too few studies (<4) to make confident conclusions. Parental sedentary behaviour was reported 3 times and maternal sedentary behaviour was reported once. Out of these four studies, three were positively associated with child sedentary time. Conclusions: Despite reviewing 45 studies that evaluated associations for 84 correlates, this review was unable to identify any consistent correlates of sedentary time in young children. Additional research is needed in this area to provide robust evidence of the correlates of sedentary time in young children, particularly for those examined in only a small number of studies.

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Funding Sponsor

Australian Research Council



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