Little is known about how screen-based sedentary behavior at home and in preschool influences children’s health and activity patterns. The current study examined the individual and cumulative influence of TV viewing at home and in preschool on children’s physical activity (PA) and weight status. Children (n = 339) attending 16 preschools in South Carolina were grouped into high and low TV groups based on parent report of children’s TV viewing at home and director report of TV use/rules in preschool. T-tests and mixed model ANOVAs examined differences in weight status and PA (min/hr) by high and low TV groups. Results revealed that children who were classified as High TV both at home and in preschool had significantly lower levels of moderate-to-vigorous PA compared with their Low TV counterparts (8.3 (0.3) min/hr vs. 7.6 (0.2) min/hr, p < .05). However, there were no significant differences in weight status or physical activity between the high and low TV groups at home or in preschool when examined individually. These findings demonstrate the importance of total environmental TV exposure on preschooler’s PA. Longitudinal and observational research to assess preschoolers’ cumulative screen-based sedentary behavior and its relationship with PA and weight status is needed.
Taverno Ross, Dowda, and Pate are with the Dept. of Exercise Science, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC. Saunders is with the Dept. of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC.