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Is the Canadian childhood obesity epidemic related to physical inactivity?

TitleIs the Canadian childhood obesity epidemic related to physical inactivity?
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsTremblay, M.. S., and Willms J.. D.
JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
Pages1100 - 1105
Keywordsbehaviours influencing health, body mass index, child and adolescent health, physical activity, sedentary behaviour, socio-economic well-being and health, socioeconomic status, television watching

OBJECTIVE This study examined the relation among children's physical activity, sedentary behaviours, and body mass index (BMI), while controlling for sex, family structure, and socioeconomic status. DESIGN Epidemiological study examining the relations among physical activity participation, sedentary behaviour (video game use and television (TV)/video watching), and BMI on a nationally representative sample of Canadian children. SUBJECTS A representative sample of Canadian children aged 7-11 (N=7216) from the 1994 National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth was used in the analysis. MEASUREMENTS Physical activity and sport participation, sedentary behaviour (video game use and TV/video watching), and BMI measured by parental report. RESULTS Both organized and unorganized sport and physical activity are negatively associated with being overweight (10-24% reduced risk) or obese (23-43% reduced risk), while TV watching and video game use are risk factors for being overweight (17-44% increased risk) or obese (10-61% increased risk). Physical activity and sedentary behaviour partially account for the association of high socioeconomic status and two-parent family structure with the likelihood of being overweight or obese. CONCLUSION This study provides evidence supporting the link between physical inactivity and obesity of Canadian children.

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