Young children's after-school activities- there's more to it than screen time

A cross-sectional study of young primary school children

Lina Engelen, Anita C. Bundy, Adrian Bauman, Geraldine Naughton, Shirley Wyver, Louise Baur

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    10 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: Children can spend substantial amounts of leisure time in sedentary activities, dominated by TV/screen time. However, objective real-time measurement of activities after school among young school children is seldom described. Methods: School children (n = 246, 5-7 years old, mean 6.0) and their parents were recruited by random selection from 14 schools across Sydney, Australia. Parents used a real-time objective measure (Experience Sampling Method, ESM) to record children's activities and whether they were indoors or outdoors at 3 random times each day after school. Data were collected across 4 weekdays in 1 week and then, 13 weeks later, another 4 weekdays in 1 week. Results: Results were based on 2940 responses from 214 childparent dyads showed that 25% of behavior involved physical activity, 51% was spent in sedentary activities, and 22% was TV/ screen time. Most instances (81%) occurred indoors. Conclusion: Despite a high proportion of TV/screen time, children were also engaged in a range of other sedentary and physically active pursuits after school. Hence TV/screen time is not a suitable proxy for all sedentary behavior, and it is important to gather information on other non-screen-based sedentary and physically active behaviors. Future research is warranted to further investigate after-school activities in young primary school children.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)8-12
    Number of pages5
    JournalJournal of Physical Activity and Health
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015

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