New guide helps researchers decide how to measure sedentary behaviour

| October 1, 2013 | 12 Comments

Today’s post comes from Dr Dylan Cliff, a National Heart Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Wollongong (Australia).

Many people interested in young people’s development are now aware that sedentary behaviours, particularly too much television viewing, can be harmful to health during childhood and adolescence. There are, however, currently a wide variety of approaches being used to measure sedentary behaviours in young people. This can make things confusing for those who are new to sedentary behaviour research such as clinicians, health promoters, educators, and researchers from different fields. It is important that researchers, practitioners and policy makers understand the strengths and weaknesses of different methods of assessing sedentary behaviours among young people, and have easy access to information about the most appropriate instruments to suit their needs.

With this in mind, members of the Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Stream of the Australasian Child and Adolescent Obesity Research Network (ACAORN) have recently developed an online Method Selection Guide and published an accompanying ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide‘ to assist users in choosing instruments to measure sedentary behaviours among children and adolescents. This followed on from a systematic review conducted by the Stream to summarise the evidence on the validity and reliability of available measures of sedentary behaviours.

For the Method Selection Guides, Stream members developed decision flow charts to assist users in selecting an appropriate measure, identified attributes of each method and described five case scenarios to illustrate considerations associated with the selection of each method of measurement. The scenarios included a screen time intervention among preschoolers, a school-based intervention to reduce sitting during class-time among children, a treatment program for overweight/obese school children focused on reducing sedentary time, the primary prevention of adolescent screen time in a clinical setting, and an observational study to estimate the population prevalence of screen time among adolescents. In developing the Method Selection Guides, ACAORN’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Stream aim to assist researchers and practitioners interested in understanding more about the measurement of sedentary behaviours in children and adolescents.

You can access the Method Selection Guide for free at



Category: In The News, Learning Resources

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