Compliance with the Australian national physical activity guidelines for children: relationship to overweight status
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Childhood obesity incidence has increased substantially and it has been argued that decreasing physical activity levels, coinciding with an increase in sedentary behaviours, are responsible. Australian guidelines were published in 2004, recommending that children participate in a minimum of 60 min of physical activity daily and spend no more than 2h a day using electronic media for entertainment. We aimed to compare compliance with these guidelines amongst children of differing weight status. The Childhood Injury Prevention Study (CHIPS) collected data from a randomly selected sample of Brisbane primary and preschool children aged 5-12 years. The following data were available for 518 participants: age, gender, measured height and weight and estimated time per week from a parent-completed 7 days diary in physical activity out of school and sedentary leisure activities including television viewing and computer use. Using age standardised body mass index estimates, approximately 20% of the cohort were overweight. Non-compliance with guidelines was 14.7% for out of school physical activity participation, and 30.9% for excess electronic media entertainment use. There was a 63% increase in the odds of overweight status amongst children who were non-compliant with the electronic entertainment recommendations than those who were compliant (adjusted odds ratio=1.63; 95% CI=1.05-2.54). Female gender and school level socioeconomic category were also independently associated with overweight status. Non-compliance with the minimal physical activity guideline increased the odds of being overweight by 28%, however this difference was not statistically significant. One in seven children from the Greater Brisbane area are at risk for being insufficiently active whilst a third overuse electronic media. Given that overuse of electronic entertainment was positively associated with childhood obesity, these children should be the target of public health campaigns to promote alternative leisure time activities.
Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport