The COVID-19 pandemic transformed the lifestyles of people, especially those of children, significantly.
As lockdowns were declared across the world, they added sedentary time to children’s schedules. Sedentary actions are defined as any waking actions in a sitting or lying position where ≤ 1 . 5 metabolic equivalents of energy is expended.
It is a major health danger linked to elevated levels of cholesterol, blood pressure, and cardiovascular difficulties in children. Thus, it comes with an urgent need to design strategies that can address this issue.
First, it is necessary to comprehend the underlying factors that assimialte with sedentary behaviour among children . This behavior is certainly collectively influenced by individual, familial, school- and neighborhood-related factors. However , studies conducted in the past have focused only on a few factors in isolation.
For this end, a team associated with researchers led by Connect Professor Mohammad Javad Koohsari from the Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, who was a junior specialist at the Waseda University throughout the study, conducted a study that identified and objectively evaluated the correlates of sedentary behavior in children in Japan. The team made up Prof. Kaori Ishii and Prof. Koichiro Oka from the Waseda University, Prof. Tomoki Nakaya and Assoc. Prof. Tomoya Hanibuchi from the Tohoku University, Assoc. Prof. Ai Shibata from University of Tsukuba, and Assoc. Prof. Gavin R. McCormack from the University of Calgary (Canada).
This research delves deeper into the socio-cultural, geographical, and indoor/outdoor environmental contexts that contribute to such behavior. “ Sedentary behavior, such as television viewing or excessive computer use, is certainly harmful for children’s health and well-being. Nevertheless, this is a common behavior in the younger generations, especially with new technologies. Hence, reducing such inactivity in children is the require of the hour. Understanding the correlates across different domains associated with sedentary behavior among children can help develop effective surgery to reduce sitting time in this vulnerable population, ” describes Dr . Koohsari. The study was published online on November 7, 2022, in Scientific Reports .
The team selected 343 children from The japanese with an average age of almost eight. 8 years. Twenty-two possible correlates were identified throughout five categories— parental features, household environment, residential neighborhood , school environment , and school neighborhood. Of those, parents’ age, mother’s educational level, presence of screen-based devices at home and in the particular child’s bedroom, non-educational personal computer use at home, and traffic safety in residential neighborhoods were found to strongly assimialte with sedentary behavior within children.
The findings indicated that parent characteristics played an important part in a child’s lifestyle at home. The mother’s age and lower educational level was linked to less time spent by child on homework plus recreational activities. On the other hand, the father’s age was linked to additional time spent by children upon homework. In addition , parental assistance and shared activities helped decrease children’s sitting time. These team noted that educating parents about general public health programs can potentially assist decrease their children’s sedentary behavior.
Additionally , the environments inside and outside the house also influence children’s behavior. Screen-based products at home, such as video/DVD players, video game consoles, and televisions (TVs) were negatively related to time spent on homework. Consequently , interventions encouraging parents to get rid of personal TVs from their kid’s bedrooms and sensitizing kids on the importance of limiting display time are necessary.
Likewise, the safety from the outdoor environment can also form children’s behavior towards physical activities. A neighborhood that is regarded safe for walking and cycling can motivate children to spend time outside and become active. Safety from traffic can also motivate parents to allow their children to be independently mobile instead of opting for personal vehicles. To ensure this, neighborhoods ought to be made safer with improved traffic norms.
Apart from the inactivity at home, a significant proportion of the children’s sedentary time corresponded with the time spent at school. To reduce this, school-based interventions that reduce prolonged sitting in classrooms should be developed to lessen children’s overall sitting period.
In conclusion, these findings underscore the need for context-specific strategies that address the various socio-cultural and urban design correlates of sedentary actions in children. “ Sedentary behavior is an emerging danger factor for children’s cardiometabolic health. The correlates of sedentary behavior in children identified by our research were highly subjective and various across domains. Therefore , long term studies and efforts for developing strategies to reduce this behavior must look into the various domains and contexts that contribute to it, ” determined Dr . Koohsari.