Influence of parental history of hypertension on screen time and physical activity in young offspring

Bamini Gopinath, Louise L. Hardy, Louise A. Baur, Erdahl Teber, Paul Mitchell*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Epidemiological data on the relationship between parental hypertension and lifestyle factors among children are limited. We assessed the associations between positive parental history of hypertension with a range of indicators of sedentariness (television viewing, computer and videogame usage) and physical activity (outdoor and indoor activity) among prepubertal children.

Six-year-old (1765 of 2238 eligible) students from a random cluster sample of 34 Sydney schools were examined. Parents completed questionnaires about their medical conditions and the child's activities. If the biological mother and/or father had hypertension, then this was classified as positive parental history of hypertension.

Parents of 160 (9.2%) children gave a positive family history of hypertension. After adjusting for age, sex, ethnicity, parental education and employment and exposure to passive smoking, children with, compared with those without, a family history of hypertension were more likely to spend above the median time (hours/day) watching television and playing videogames [odds ratio (OR) 1.41, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.02–1.96; OR 1.52, CI 1.12–2.06, respectively]. The offspring of hypertensive parents were more likely to spend above the median time in total physical activity (OR 1.67, 95% CI 1.23–2.27). Maternal (but not paternal) hypertension was associated with increased time spent watching television (P = 0.03) and in outdoor activity (P = 0.01).

Parental hypertension influences the time that prepubertal offspring spend in both active and sedentary pursuits. These findings highlight potential factors that could be addressed in the development of cardiovascular disease-preventive measures starting early in life among the offspring of hypertensive parents.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)336-341
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Hypertension
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • children
  • hypertension
  • parental history
  • physical activity
  • screen time
  • sedentary behaviours
  • Sydney Childhood Eye Study
  • television viewing


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