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15-09-2018 | Original Paper | Uitgave 1/2019

Journal of Child and Family Studies 1/2019

Insufficient Physical Activity and Overweight: Does Caregiver Screen-Viewing Matter?

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 1/2019
Yi-Ching Lin, Xavier C. C. Fung, Meng-Che Tsai, Carol Strong, Yi-Ping Hsieh, Chung-Ying Lin


Physical activity (PA) is essential for children’s health and well-being, yet many children around the world do not meet the recommended PA levels. Screen-viewing behavior is one of the possible factors leading to low levels of PA and being overweight. Although research in Western countries shows that caregivers’ screen-viewing behavior and rule-setting are associated with their children’s screen-viewing behavior, these results may not be generalizable to East Asian populations. Therefore, the current study proposed two mediation models to investigate whether insufficient physical activity mediates the relationship between children’s screen viewing behavior and overweight status, and whether such screen-viewing behavior mediates the relationship between caregiver factors and children’s overweight status. The participants in this study comprised 1031 elementary school students (516 boys and 515 girls) in Taiwan. Through a cross-sectional design, caregivers reported their children’s PA levels, screen-viewing time, body mass index (BMI), home environment, and caregivers’ rules regarding screen-time restrictions. Additionally, an χ2 test was used to examine the differences between children with and without sufficient PA. The results from χ2 tests suggest that, in the insufficient PA group, the caregivers tended to have excessive screen time per day and have no rules to manage their children’s screen-viewing behavior. Furthermore, the children in this group were more likely to have excessive screen-viewing time per day than their counterparts. Sobel tests revealed that insufficient PA was a mediator in the relationship between children’s screen-viewing behavior and being overweight. Children’s screen-viewing behavior was also found to be a mediator in the relationship between caregivers’ factors and being overweight. The results of the current study indicate that caregivers’ screen-viewing behavior and caregivers’ screen-viewing rules may be associated with their children’s insufficient PA levels and overweight problems, which, in turn, are related to their children’s screen-viewing behavior. Future efforts at childhood overweight intervention should consider the inclusion of educational and behavioral programs designed for caregivers, rather than targeting children alone.

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