Research Study Abstract

Household-level correlates of children’s physical activity levels in and across 12 countries

  • Published on Aug 25, 2016

Objective: Household factors (electronic media equipment, play equipment, physical activity in the home, and social support) have been associated with childhood moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity (MVPA), but little is known about how these factors differ across diverse countries. The objective was to explore household correlates of objective MVPA in children from 12 countries.

Methods: Overall, 5,859 nine- to eleven-year-old children from 12 countries representing a range of human and socioeconomic development indicators wore an accelerometer for 7 days and parents reported on household factors. Multilevel general linear models explored associations among household factors and MVPA variables controlling for age, sex, and parental education.

Results: Across sites, children with at least one piece of bedroom electronic media had lower MVPA (∼4 min/day; P < 0.001) than those who did not. More frequent physical activity in the home and yard, ownership of more frequently used play equipment, and higher social support for physical activity were associated with more MVPA (all P < 0.001). The association between play equipment ownership and MVPA was inconsistent across countries (interaction P < 0.01).

Conclusions: With the exception of play equipment ownership, modifiable household factors showed largely consistent and important associations with MVPA across high-, mid-, and low-income countries.


  • Deirdre M. Harrington 1
  • Fiona Gillson 2
  • Stephanie T. Broyles 3
  • Jean-Philippe Chaput 4
  • Mikael Fogelholm 5
  • Gang Hu 3
  • Rebecca Kuriyan 6
  • Anura Kurpad 6
  • Allana G. LeBlanc 7
  • Carol Maher 8
  • Jose Maia 9
  • Victor Matsudo 10
  • Timothy Olds 7
  • Vincent Onywera 8
  • Olga L. Sarmiento 11
  • Martyn Standage 2
  • Mark S. Tremblay 4
  • Catrine Tudor-Locke 3,12
  • Pei Zhao 13
  • Peter T. Katzmarzyk 3


  • 1

    Diabetes Research Centre, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK

  • 2

    Department for Health, University of Bath, Bath, UK

  • 3

    Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA

  • 4

    Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, Ottawa, Canada

  • 5

    Department of Food and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland

  • 6

    St. Johns Research Institute, Bangalore, India

  • 7

    Alliance for Research in Exercise Nutrition and Activity (ARENA), School of Health Sciences, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia

  • 8

    Department of Recreation Management and Exercise Science, Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya

  • 9

    CIFI2D, Faculdade de Desporto, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal

  • 10

    Center of Studies from the Physical Fitness Research Laboratory, São Caetano do Sul, Sao Paulo, Brazil

  • 11

    School of Medicine, Universidad De Los Andes, Bogota, Colombia

  • 12

    Department of Kinesiology, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, USA

  • 13

    Tianjin Women's and Children's Health Center, Tianjin, China


Obesity A Research Journal


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