Physical activity and sedentary behaviour are associated with metabolic and mental health during childhood and adolescence. Understanding the inter-relationships between these behaviours will help to inform intervention design. This systematic review and meta-analysis synthesized evidence from observational studies describing the association between sedentary behaviour and physical activity in young people (<18 years). English-language publications up to August 2013 were located through electronic and manual searches. Included studies presented statistical associations between at least one measure of sedentary behaviour and one measure of physical activity. One hundred sixty-three papers were included in the meta-analysis, from which data on 254 independent samples was extracted. In the summary meta-analytic model (k = 230), a small, but significant, negative association between sedentary behaviour and physical activity was observed (r = -0.108, 95% confidence interval [CI] = -0.128, -0.087). In moderator analyses, studies that recruited smaller samples (n < 100, r = -0.193, 95% CI = -0.276, -0.109) employed objective methods of measurement (objectively measured physical activity; r = -0.233, 95% CI = -0.330, -0.137) or were assessed to be of higher methodological quality (r = -0.176, 95% CI = -0.215, -0.138) reported stronger associations, although effect sizes remained small. The association between sedentary behaviour and physical activity in young people is negative, but small, suggesting that these behaviours do not directly displace one another.
- Physical activity
- Sedentary behaviour