Physical Activity, Media Time, and Body Composition in Young Children

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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It is uncertain as to whether physical activity (PA) may influence the body composition of young children.


To determine the association between PA, media time, and body composition in children age 4 to 7 y.


100 children (52 girls, 48 boys) were assessed for body-mass index (BMI), body fat, fat mass (FM), and fat-free mass using dual energy x-ray absorbtiometryptiometry (DXA). PA was monitored using accelerometers and media time was reported by parental proxy.


In general, correlations were low to moderate at best (r < 0.51), but in the expected direction. Total media time and TV were significantly associated with BMI (r = 0.51, P < 0.05) and FM (r = 0.29 to 0.30, P < 0.05) in girls. In boys, computer usage was significantly associated with FM in boys (r = 0.31, P < 0.05).


The relatively low correlations suggest that other factors may influence the complex, multi-factorial body composition phenotype of young children.

Heelan is with the Human Performance Lab, University of Nebraska-Kearney, Kearney, NE 68849. Eisenmann is with the Dept of Health and Human Performance, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011.

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