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Systematic review of sedentary behaviour and health indicators in the early years (aged 0–4 years)

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Accumulating evidence suggests that young children spend excessive time being sedentary. The purpose of this systematic review was to determine the relationship between sedentary behaviours and health indicators during the early years (ages 0–4 years). Using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) framework, this review aimed to present the best available evidence on the threshold of sedentary behaviour associated with healthy measures of adiposity, bone health, motor skill development, psychosocial health, cognitive development, and cardiometabolic health indicators in infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. Online databases, personal libraries, and government documents were searched for relevant studies. Studies that included an intervention (or experimental) group or prospective analysis were included. Twenty-one unique studies, representing 23 papers and 22 417 participants, met inclusion criteria; 7 studies included information on infants, 13 on toddlers, and 10 on preschoolers. Of these, 11, 6, and 8 studies reported data on adiposity, psychosocial health, and cognitive development, respectively. No included study reported on motor skill development, bone, or cardiometabolic health indicators. In conclusion, this review found low- to moderate-quality evidence to suggest that increased television viewing is associated with unfavourable measures of adiposity and decreased scores on measures of psychosocial health and cognitive development. No evidence existed to indicate that television viewing is beneficial for improving psychosocial health or cognitive development. In several instances a dose–response relationship was evident between increased time spent watching television and decreased psychosocial health or cognitive development. This work may be used as evidence to inform public health guidelines. (PROSPERO registration: CRD4011001280.)
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Keywords: adiposity; adiposité; assis; bone and skeletal health; cardiometabolic health indicators; cognitive development; développement cognitif; développement des habiletés motrices; enfants d’âge préscolaire; inactivity; inactivité; indicateurs de santé cardiométabolique; infants; motor skill development; nourrissons; preschoolers; psychosocial health; santé des os et du squelette; santé psychosociale; sitting; television; toddlers; tout-petits; télévision

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, 401 Smyth Road, Ottawa, ON K1H 8L1, Canada. 2: Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, University of Alberta, W1-16h Van Vliet Centre, Edmonton, AB T6G 2H9, Canada. 3: School of Kinesiology and Health Studies, Queen’s University, 28 Division St., Kingston, ON K7L 3N6, Canada. 4: Office of the Task Force on Preventive Health Care, Public Health Agency of Canada, 785 Carling Avenue, Ottawa, ON K1A 0K9, Canada. 5: Department of Pediatrics, McMaster University, 1280 Main St. West, Hamilton, ON L8S 4L8, Canada. 6: Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Johns Hopkins University, 600 North Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21202, USA.

Publication date: August 7, 2012

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