Relationship between physical activity, screen time and weight status among young adolescents

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It is well established that lack of physical activity and high bouts of sedentary behaviour are now associated with all-cause and cardiovascular mortality. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between physical activity participation, overall screen time and weight status amongst early Irish adolescent youth. Participants were a sample of 169 students: 113 boys (mean age = 12.89 ± 0.34 years) and 56 girls (mean age = 12.87 ± 0.61 years). The data gathered in the present study included physical activity (accelerometry), screen time (self-report) and anthropometric measurements. Overweight and obese participants accumulated significantly more minutes of overall screen time daily compared to their normal-weight counterparts. A correlation between physical activity and daily television viewing was evident among girls. No significant interaction was apparent when examining daily physical activity and overall screen time in the prediction of early adolescents’ body mass index. Results suggest the importance of reducing screen time in the contribution towards a healthier weight status among adolescents. Furthermore, physical activity appears largely unrelated to overall screen time in predicting adolescent weight status, suggesting that these variables may be independent markers of health in youth. The existing relationship for girls between moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and time spent television viewing may be a potential area to consider for future intervention design with adolescent youth.




O’brien, W., Issartel, J., & Belton, S. (2018). Relationship between physical activity, screen time and weight status among young adolescents. Sports, 6(3).

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