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Is the Canadian childhood obesity epidemic related to physical inactivity?

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.

Published on 08-03-2007