Sedentary behaviour and adiposity in youth: a systematic review of reviews and analysis of causality

Biddle, Stuart J. H. ORCID: and Garcia Bengoechea, Enrique and Wiesner, Glen (2017) Sedentary behaviour and adiposity in youth: a systematic review of reviews and analysis of causality. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 14 (1).

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Sedentary behaviour (sitting time) has becoming a very popular topic for research and translation since early studies on TV viewing in children in the 1980s. The most studied area for sedentary behaviour health outcomes has been adiposity in young people. However, the literature is replete with inconsistencies. Methods: We conducted a systematic review of systematic reviews and meta-analyses to provide a comprehensive analysis of evidence and state-of-the-art synthesis on whether sedentary behaviours are associated with adiposity in young people, and to what extent any association can be considered 'causal'. Searches yielded 29 systematic reviews of over 450 separate papers. We analysed results by observational (cross-sectional and longitudinal) and intervention designs. Results: Small associations were reported for screen time and adiposity from cross-sectional evidence, but associations were less consistent from longitudinal studies. Studies using objective accelerometer measures of sedentary behaviour yielded null associations. Most studies assessed BMI/BMI-z. Interventions to reduce sedentary behaviour produced modest effects for weight status and adiposity. Accounting for effects from sedentary behaviour reduction alone is difficult as many interventions included additional changes in behaviour, such as physical activity and dietary intake. Analysis of causality guided by the classic Bradford Hill criteria concluded that there is no evidence for a causal association between sedentary behaviour and adiposity in youth, although a small dose-response association exists. Conclusions: Associations between sedentary behaviour and adiposity in children and adolescents are small to very small and there is little to no evidence that this association is causal. This remains a complex field with different exposure and outcome measures and research designs. But claims for 'clear' associations between sedentary behaviour and adiposity in youth, and certainly for causality, are premature or misguided.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2017 05:47
Last Modified: 31 May 2018 06:06
Uncontrolled Keywords: adolescents; BMI; children; obesity; screen time; sedentary; television; weight status
Fields of Research (2008): 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1111 Nutrition and Dietetics > 111199 Nutrition and Dietetics not elsewhere classified
Fields of Research (2020): 32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3210 Nutrition and dietetics > 321099 Nutrition and dietetics not elsewhere classified
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