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Association between maternal education and objectively measured physical activity and sedentary time in adolescents

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posted on 11.02.2016, 10:12 by Lauren SherarLauren Sherar, Tom P. Griffin, Ulf Ekelund, Ashley R. Cooper, Dale EsligerDale Esliger, Esther M.F. van Sluijs, Lars Bo Andersen, Greet Cardon, Rachel Davey, Karsten Froberg, Pedro Hallal, Kathleen F. Janz, Katarzyna Kordas, Susi Kriemler, Russ R. Pate, Jardena J. Puder, Luis B. Sardinha, Anna Timperio, Angie S. Page
Investigating socioeconomic variation in physical activity (PA) and sedentary time is important as it may represent a pathway by which socioeconomic position (SEP) leads to ill health. Findings on the association between children's SEP and objectively assessed PA and/or sedentary time are mixed, and few studies have included international samples.Examine the associations between maternal education and adolescent's objectively assessed PA and sedentary time.This is an observational study of 12 770 adolescents (10-18 years) pooled from 10 studies from Europe, Australia, Brazil and the USA. Original PA data were collected between 1997 and 2009. The associations between maternal education and accelerometer variables were examined using robust multivariable regression, adjusted for a priori confounders (ie, body mass index, monitor wear time, season, age and sex) and regression coefficients combined across studies using random effects meta-analyses. Analyses were conducted in March 2014.Adolescents of university educated mothers spent more time sedentary (9.5 min/day, p=0.005) and less time in light activity (10 min/day, p<0.001) compared with adolescents of high school educated mothers. Pooled analysis across two studies from Brazil and Portugal (analysed separately because of the different coding of maternal education) showed that children of higher educated mothers (tertiary vs primary/secondary) spent less time in moderate to vigorous PA (MVPA) (6.6 min/day, p=0.001) and in light PA (39.2 min/day: p<0.001), and more time sedentary (45.9 min/day, p<0.001).Across a number of international samples, adolescents of mothers with lower education may not be at a disadvantage in terms of overall objectively measured PA.


The funding partners relevant to this award are: British Heart Foundation; Cancer Research UK; Department of Health; Diabetes UK; Economic and Social Research Council; Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust (grant reference 102215/2/13/2); Research and Development Office for the Northern Ireland Health and Social Services; Chief Scientist Office; Scottish Executive Health Department; The Stroke Association; Welsh Assembly Government and World Cancer Research Fund. This work was additionally supported by the Medical Research Council (MC_UU_12015/3; MC_UU_12015/7), Bristol University, Loughborough University and Norwegian School of Sport Sciences. AFT is supported by a Future Leader Fellowship from the National Heart Foundation of Australia (Award ID 100046). LBS is supported by the National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care—East Midlands (NIHR CLAHRC—EM). LBS and DWE are supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Diet, Lifestyle and Physical Activity Biomedical Research Unit based at University Hospitals of Leicester and Loughborough University.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

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Journal of epidemiology and community health


SHERAR, L.B. ... et al., 2016. Association between maternal education and objectively measured physical activity and sedentary time in adolescents. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 70, pp.541-548.


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