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A Journal on Pediatrics, Neonatology, Adolescent Medicine,
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Indexed/Abstracted in: CAB, EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch), Scopus
Impact Factor 0,532
Minerva Pediatrica 2016 December;68(6):435-40
Time spent in sedentary activities in a pediatric population in Pretoria Central, South Africa
Daniel T. GOON 1, Constance A. NSIBAMBI 2, Milton CHEBET 2 ✉
1 School of Health Sciences, University of Fort Hare, East London, South Africa; 2 Department of Sport Science, Kyambogo University, Kampala, Uganda
BACKGROUND: Scant information exist on screen time behavior of South Africa children and whether they do not meet the recommendation of American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) concerning screen time activity for children is only speculative. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the time spent in sedentary activities, especially screen time of South African children with regard to gender.
METHODS: This cross-sectional study involved a random sample of 1136 school children (548 boys; 588 girls) aged 9-13 years attending public schools in Central Pretoria, South Africa. Questionnaire was used to collect data on the participants’ sedentary behaviors. The prevalence estimates for sedentary time activity was based on the guidelines (i.e., <2 or ≥2 hours per day) of AAP.
RESULTS: The mean age of the children was 11.1±1.4 years. Sedentary activity data were collected from 548 boys (48.2%) and 588 (51.8%) girls. The majority of children spent more than two hours per day (exceeding the AAP recommendation for sedentary activity) watching TV (3.0%), worked or played on the computer (25.4%), read (1.0%), played music (27.9%), played board games (14.7%), washing clothes (8.0%), floor sweeping (10.5%), art work (18.2%), and spent time on other unspecified activities (28.6%). Boys spent more time (2 hours, 3-4 hours) watching TV (38.3%; P=0.001), playing computer (31.8 %; P=0.024) and board games (17.4%; P=0.012) than girls. The corresponding figures for girls were 35.7%, 19.2% and 12.5% for TV, computer and board games, respectively. However, the proportion of those who spent more time playing music was higher among girls (32.7%) than boys (22.4%) (P=0.002). Overall, the time spent exceeding AAP recommendation (≥ 2 hours) was not statistically (P=0.427) different between boys and girls.
CONCLUSIONS: The time spent in sedentary activities, particularly in screen time activity among urban primary school children in Pretoria Central is excessively higher than the recommendation (i.e., ≥2 hours per day) set for children. Also, gender differences exist in the sedentary activities of the children, with boys having higher screen time and other sedentary activities than girls. Children’s screen time activity needs to be monitored to reduce the time children spend in front of the TV, computer gaming, video watching and other sedentary activities.