Associations Between Sedentary Behavior and Blood Pressure in Young Children

  • Martinez-Gomez D
  • Tucker J
  • Heelan K
 et al. 
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Objective: To examine the effect of sedentary behavior on blood pressure
(BP) in young children using different indicators of sedentariness.
Design: Cross-sectional study.
Setting: A rural Midwestern US community.
Participants: Children aged 3 to 8 years (N=111).
Intervention: Adiposity was assessed using dual energy x-ray
absorptiometry. Objective measurements of sedentary activity were
obtained from the accelerometers that participants wore continuously for
7 days. Measurements of television (TV) viewing, computer, and screen
time (TV + computer) were obtained via parent report.
Main Outcome Measures: Systolic and diastolic BP.
Results: The sample spent a mean of 5 hours per day in sedentary
activities, of which 1.5 hours were screen time.
Accelerometer-determined sedentary activity was not significantly
related to systolic BP or diastolic BP after controlling for age, sex,
height, and percentage of body fat. However, TV viewing and screen time,
but not computer use, were positively associated with both systolic BP
and diastolic BP after adjusting for potential confounders. Participants
in the lowest tertile of TV and screen time had significantly lower
levels of systolic and diastolic BP than participants in the upper
Conclusions: Sedentary behaviors, particularly TV viewing and screen
time, were associated with BP in children, independent of body
composition. Other factors that occur during excessive screen time (eg,
food consumption) should also be considered in the context of sedentary
behavior and BP development in children.

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  • David Martinez-Gomez

  • Jared Tucker

  • Kate A. Heelan

  • Gregory J. Welk

  • Joey C. Eisenmann

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