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Relationship between a range of sedentary behaviours and blood pressure during early adolescence


Very few studies have explored links between physical activity, sedentary behaviours and blood pressure (BP) in early adolescence. We aimed to assess the association between a range of sedentary activities (screen time, television (TV) viewing, computer usage, video game usage and time spent in homework or reading) and BP in schoolchildren. Eligible year-7 students (2353/3144, mean age 12.7 years) from a random cluster sample of 21 Sydney schools were examined during 2003–2005. Parents and children completed detailed questionnaires of activity. BP was measured using a standard protocol and high BP was defined using published guidelines. Height and weight were measured, and body mass index (BMI) calculated. After adjusting for age, sex, ethnicity, parental education, height, BMI and time spent in physical activity, each hour per day spent in screen time, watching TV and playing video games was associated with a significant increase in diastolic BP of 0.44 (P=0.0001), 0.99 (P<0.0001) and 0.64 mm Hg (P=0.04), respectively. In contrast, each hour per day spent reading was associated with a decrease of 0.91 (P=0.01) and 0.69 mm Hg (P=0.02) in systolic and diastolic BP, respectively. Our results indicate that addressing different types of sedentary activities could be a potentially important strategy to reduce the prevalence of elevated BP in children.

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The Sydney Myopia Study (Sydney Childhood Eye Study) was supported by the Australian National Health & Medical Research Council (Grant no. 253732); the Westmead Millennium Institute, University of Sydney and the Vision Co-operative Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.

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Correspondence to P Mitchell.

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Gopinath, B., Baur, L., Hardy, L. et al. Relationship between a range of sedentary behaviours and blood pressure during early adolescence. J Hum Hypertens 26, 350–356 (2012).

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  • blood pressure
  • sedentary behaviour
  • screen time
  • television viewing
  • children
  • Sydney Childhood Eye Study

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