Background Sedentary behaviour (sitting) is an emerging cardiometabolic risk factor in young people. Little is known about how household socioeconomic position (SEP) and sedentary behaviour are associated in children and adolescents. The aim of this study was to assess the associations between SEP (including area-level deprivation) and sedentary behaviour in school-age children and adolescents.
Methods The study sample was 4034 participants aged 5–15 yrs participated in the 2008 Health Survey for England which collected information on SEP (household income, Registrar General’s social class of the household reference person) and neighbourhood deprivation. Sedentary behaviour assessment (proxy parental measures for 5–12yrs; self-reported for 13–15yrs) included television viewing and other sitting during non-school times. Total sitting time was measured in a sub-sample (N=611) using accelerometers. We examined the multivariable associations between each SEP indicator and each sedentary time indicator using generalised linear models. Whenever appropriate, models were adjusted for age, sex, body mass index (BMI), physical activity, accelerometer wear time and mutually adjusted for the other SEP indicators.
Results The mean age of the sample was 10 yrs (±3), 2922 participants were aged 5–12 and 1112 were aged 13- 15yrs. Household income and social class were inversely associated with daily television times (i.e. the higher the SEP the lower the television viewing times), e.g. compared to participants from households in the bottom income quartile, those in the top quartile had 14 minutes /day less (95% CI: 3 to 25, p=0.009) of television viewing. Non-TV sitting during non-school time was higher in nonmanual than in manual social class households by 14 minutes/day (7 to 20, p<0.001). Total (accelerometry-assessed) sitting time was higher among participants from households in the top income half (≥£23135/year) by 22 minutes/day (7 to 37, p<0.00) compared to those in the bottom half. Area deprivation was not associated with sedentary behaviour.
Conclusion Low socioeconomic position is linked with higher television times but with lower total (accelerometry-assessed) sitting, and non-TV sitting during non-school time in children and adolescents. Inferences from studies looking at socioeconomic position and specific indices of sedentary behaviour (e.g., TV time) in children and adolescents may not be generalizable to total sitting time.
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