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Table 2 Sedentary behaviour outcome measures and results of intervention targeting exclusively sedentary behaviour – sorted by age range and methodological quality

From: Effectiveness of intervention strategies exclusively targeting reductions in children’s sedentary time: a systematic review of the literature

Ref Quality ratinga SB outcome Results §
Children aged 2.5 – 7 years
Birken et al. [11] Moderate Parent-reported total time (min/d) the child was in a room with the TV/video/DVD on or playing video games or using the Internet during previous weekday and weekend day. Adjusted (baseline SB values and zBMI (WHO)) mean differences [95 % CI]:
Weekday screen time (min/d):
-7 [-38; 23]
Weekend day screen time (min/d):
2 [-16; 20]
Dennison et al. [32] Moderate Parent-reported average amount of time (h/wk) watching TV/videos, playing video or computer games, or surfing the Internet, separately for Saturday, Sunday and an average weekday. Adjusted (age, sex, baseline SB values) difference in mean change [95 % CI]:
TV/video viewing (h/d):
Weekdays: -0.62 [-1.11; -0.12]
Saturday: -0.63 [-1.44; 0.17]
Sunday: -0.99 [-1.73; -0.25]
Percentage children watching >2 h/d:
-21.5 [-42.5; -0.5]
Computer/video game playing (h/d):
Weekdays: -0.11 [-0.34; 0.13]
Saturday: -0.07 [-0.49; 0.34]
Sunday: -0.03 [-0.27; 0.21]
Epstein et al. [33] Moderate Objectively assessed (TV allowance) TV and computer time (h/wk). Decrease in mean (SEM [SD]) number of hours of TV viewing and computer games (h/wk):
Intervention: 17.5 [7.0] at 6 months and about the same through 24 months
Control group: -5.2 [11.1] at 24 months
Significant different changes from baseline between groups at 6 through 24 months (adjusted for group, SES, age, sex).
Haines et al. [13] Weak Parent-reported time their child watched TV on average weekday and weekend day in the past month (h), and whether child had a TV in the bedroom. Mean group difference [95 % CI] for changes from baseline to 6 months:
TV time (h/d): 0.54 [-1.22; 0.15]
TV time on weekdays (h/d): -0.31 [-0.98; 0.37]
TV time on weekend days (h/d): -1.06 [-1.97; -0.15]
Number of TVs in bedroom (OR): 1.75 [0.62; 4.91]
Taveras et al. [34] Weak Child-reported TV and video viewing (h/d), TV in bedroom (y/n). Adjusted (age, sex, ethnicity, parent education, overweight/obesity status at baseline, household income, time elapsed from baseline to follow-up) difference (b [95 % CI]):
Total TV/video viewing (h/d): -0.36 [-0.64; 0.09]
Odds ratio (OR [95 % CI]):
TV in bedroom (%): 0.65 [0.32; 1.32]
(additionally adjusted for TV in bedroom at baseline)
Yilmaz [36] Weak Parent-reported (h/wk) time spent watching TV, videos or surfing internet. Parent reported (h/d) time spent in front of a screen, for weekend and weekdays separately. Media time at 2, 6 and 9 months significantly different between intervention and control group.
Zimmerman et al. [35] Weak Parent-reported time diaries (15-minute segment for the entire 24-h day) for one randomly chosen weekday and one randomly chosen weekend including their child’s total TV viewing time (min/day) and commercial TV viewing time (min/day) (by indicating name of the show and media format (i.e. TV/DVD)). Beta [95 % CI] for intervention effect:
Total TV viewing time (min/d): -37.1 [-68.7; -5.6]
Commercial TV viewing (min/d): -29.2 [-63.0; 4.6]
Children aged 7 – 12 years
Ford et al. [40] Moderate Parent-reported the child’s typical weekday and Saturday TV/video and video game use (h), nr of days the child had breakfast/dinner while watching TV and overall household TV use (h). Effects sizes (Cohen’s δ§) for baseline to post-test differences (all non-significant):
Mean weekly screen use (h): 0.00
Overall household TV use: 0.20
Days breakfast with TV on: 0.26
Days dinner with TV on: 0.45
Hinckson et al. [46] Moderate Objectively measured (ActivPAL) time spent sitting and sit-to-stand counts. Mean group difference (intervention minus control) for changes from pre to post intervention [90 % confidence limits]:
Sitting (h): -0.49 [0.64]
Sit-to-stand counts: -0.96 [0.54]
Maddison et al. [47] Moderate Child-reported time spent (min/d) sedentary, screen-based and non screen-based (Multimedia Activity Recall for Children and Adolescents, MARCA). Mean difference (intervention minus control) for changes from pre to post intervention [95 % CI]:
Total SB (min/d): -20 [-56; 17]
Screen-based SB (min/d): -33 [-73; 7]
Non screen-based SB (min/d): 13 [-26; 51]
Robinson et al. [43] Moderate Child- and parent-reported (h/wk) TV/video viewing and video game playing, number of meals and snacking with TV ON, and time spent (h/d) in other SB (i.e. using a computer, doing homework, reading, listening to music, playing a musical instrument, talking with parents, playing quiet games indoors and at classes or clubs.
Parent reported overall household TV use.
Adjusted (baseline SB, age, sex) change [95 % CI]:
Child report
TV (h/wk): -5.53 [-8.64; -2.42]
Videotapes (h/wk): -1.53 [-3.39; 0.33]
Video games (h/wk): -2.54 [-4.48; -0.60]
Meals while TV ON (nr): -0.54 [-0.98; -0.12]
Snacking while TV ON (nr): -0.11 [-0.27; 0.04]
Other SB (h/d): -0.34 [-1.21; 0.52]
Parental report
TV (h/wk): -4.29 [-5.89; -2.70]
Videotapes (h/wk): -0.25 [-1.19; 0.69]
Video games (h/wk): -0.76 [-1.75; 0.22]
Meals while TV ON (nr): -1.07 [-1.69; -0.18]
Children snacking while TV ON (%): -1.94 [-9.06; 5.17]
Other SB (h/d): -4.88 [-11.69; 1.93]
Overall household TV use: -0.77 [-1.69; 0.14]
Vik et al. [48] Moderate/Weakb Objectively measured (Actigraph GT1M, GT3X or ActiTrainer) breaks in SB and total SB.
Self-reported breaks in sitting time and screen time spent, separate for TV/DVD hours, PC/games console hours and school hours.
Adjusted (school, age, baseline SB) means [95 % CI]:
Breaks in SB (nr/day):
Objective: 0.17 [-1.18; 1.52]
Self-reported TV/DVD: 0.14 [0.02; 0.25]
Self-reported PC/games: 0.13 [0.02; 0.24]
Self-reported school hours: 0.10 [-0.04; 0.23]
Total SB (h/d):
Objective: 0.11 [-0.11; 0.33]
Self-reported FQ
TV/DVD: -0.03 [-0.12; 0.05]
PC/games: -0.01 [-0.10; 0.09]
Self-reported 24 h recall
TV/DVD: -0.06 [-0.15; 0.03]
PC/games: 0.02 [-0.08; 0.12]
Cardon et al. [44] Weak Observations on durations and frequencies of static and dynamic sitting (portable ergonomic observation method). Mean [SD] frequencies and durations (%) post intervention (except for frequency static sitting all outcomes significant different between intervention and control group):
Frequency static sitting: 1.50 [1.00]
Duration static sitting: 1.0 [0.00]
Frequency dynamic sitting: 13.72 [7.65]
Duration dynamic sitting: 53.11 [23.23]
Frequency static sitting: 4.17 [4.35]
Duration static sitting: 97.13 [3.82]
Frequency dynamic sitting: 2.38 [2.10]
Duration dynamic sitting: 3.25 [2.87]
Carson et al. [12] Weak Objectively measured (ActiGraph GT3X) classroom and total sedentary time (min/d). Adjusted (sex, country of birth, SES, baseline and 24-month accelerometer wear time, baseline mediator variables) beta [95 % CI]:
Classroom sedentary time (min/d):
-0.17 [-6.14; 6.48]
Total sedentary time (min/d):
-6.9 [-19.50; 5.69]
Epstein et al. [38] Weak Self-reported physical activity questionnaire (Minnesota Leisure Time Activity Survey) assessing frequency and average time spent on targeted (watching TV/video, playing computer games, talking on the phone, playing board games) and non-targeted (homework, schoolwork) SB. Changes from baseline to 6 and 24 months (mean (SD)):
Targeted SB (% time)
0–6 months:
Low dose SB: -15.1 (19.0)
High dose SB: -20.3 (29.4)
0–24 months:
Low dose SB: -0.6 (25.2)
High dose SB: -12.0 (24.7)
No significant differences across groups:
0–6 months: -13.4 (22.6)
0–24 months: -8.7 (23.6)
Non-targeted SB (% time)
0–6 months:
Low dose SB: 11.1 (24.7)
High dose SB: 10.5 (17.8)
0–24 months:
Low dose SB: -2.1 (23.4)
High dose SB: 2.4 (16.6)
No significant differences across groups:
0–6 months: 9.3 (18.7)
0–24 months: 1.2 (20.2)
Epstein et al. [37] Weak Child- and parent-report of any SB that took 10 min or longer in duration, using index cards (structured with columns for start and stop times and the activity description) Sign decrease in SB over time (-2.2 ± 7.4; % time in targeted sedentary behaviours), with no differences between groups.
Escobar-Chaves et al. [39] Weak Parent-reported media use (h, min) by children (TV/DVD, video/computer game, computer use, handheld games), media in household and in child’s bedroom, frequency of TV ON when nobody was watching, frequency of TV on while eating snacks/meals. Adjusted (gender, age and ethnicity) OR:
Media use (i.e. TV/DVD/video viewing,
computer game/use): non-significant difference
TV being ON when nobody was watching: 0.23
Eating snacks while watching TV: 0.47 (significant)
TV in the child's bedroom: 0.23 (significant)
French et al. [45] Weak Objectively assessed TV viewing time (h/d; TV control device) and sedentary time (Actigraph GT1M). Mean values [SE] post intervention (significantly different between intervention and control for TV viewing time):
TV viewing time (h/d): 1.7 (0.2)
Sedentary time (min/d): 821.0 (34.9)
TV viewing time (h/d): 2.6 (0.3)
Sedentary time (min/d): 792.3 (43.5)
Ni Mhurchu et al. [42] Weak Child-reported hours of TV watching and total screen time per week (h/wk). Mean change (mean (SD)) from baseline to 6 weeks (all non-significant):
Total weekly TV viewing (h): -254 (536)
Total weekly screen time (h): -706 (725)
Total weekly TV viewing (h): -254 (536)
Total weekly screen time (h): -706 (725)
Todd et al. [41] Weak Recalled (by participant) all non-school related electronic media use (including that at friends’ homes and elsewhere), both time (h/min) and type (e.g. TV, computer). Adjusted (media access, participation in organized activities) difference [95 % CI]:
Electronic media use (min/d):
Baseline to 10 weeks: -83 [-92.2; -73]
Baseline to 20 weeks: -73 [-78.5; -67.5]
Significant treatment x time interaction
Nr of meals and snacks per day with electronic media ON decreased to 70 % below baseline at 10 and 20 weeks in intervention group compared to 10 % decrease at 10 weeks and 40 % increase 20 weeks in control group (significant different between groups).
Verloigne et al. [14] Weak Accelerometer measured sedentary time (% wearing time), worn for at least 2 weekdays (10 h wearing time) and 1 weekend day (8 h wearing time). Adjusted (age, gender) b (SE) for interaction between ‘time’ and ‘condition’ for sedentary time outcomes (% wearing time) (all non-significant):
Day: 0.96 (0.86)
Weekday: 1.48 (0.78)
Weekend day: 0.03 (1.41)
School hours: 0.70 (0.75)
After school hours: 1.69 (1.09)
Sedentary bouts: -0.28 (0.23)
  1. §Cohen’s δ: standardized effect size = mean change scores for two groups/pooled within-group standard deviation
  2. Abbreviations: BMI body mass index, CI confidence interval, h/d hours per day, h/wk hours per week, min/d minutes per day, OR odds ratio, PC personal computer, SB sedentary behaviour, SD standard deviation, SE standard error, SEM standard error of the mean, SES socioeconomic status, TV television
  3. aQuality assessment tool for quantitative studies, Effective Public Health Practice Project (EPHPP)
  4. bM for accelerometer assessed outcomes, W for self-reported outcomes