A paper was just published in Pediatric Exercise Science by HALO alumnus Dr. Richard Larouche (with coauthors including Dr. Jean-Philippe Chaput, Dr. Mark Tremblay and HALO alumnus Kevin Belanger) titled “Relationships Between Outdoor Time, Physical Activity, Sedentary Time, and Body Mass Index in Children: A 12-Country Study”. The study showed that outdoor time was associated with higher physical activity and lower sedentary time independent of climate, parental education, and neighborhood variables, but effect sizes were small. Citation details and a summary of the paper are below.
Larouche R, Mire EF, Belanger K, Barreira TV, Chaput JP, Fogelholm M, Hu G, Lambert EV, Maher C, Maia J, Olds T, Onywera V, Sarmiento OL, Standage M, Tudor-Locke C, Katzmarzyk PT, Tremblay MS; ISCOLE Research Group. Relationships Between Outdoor Time, Physical Activity, Sedentary Time, and Body Mass Index in Children: A 12-Country Study. Pediatr Exerc Sci. 2019 Feb 1;31(1):118-129.
PURPOSE: This study investigated the relationship between outdoor time and physical activity (PA), sedentary time (SED), and body mass index z scores among children from 12 lower-middle-income, upper-middle-income, and high-income countries. METHODS: In total, 6478 children (54.4% girls) aged 9-11 years participated. Outdoor time was self-reported, PA and SED were assessed with ActiGraph GT3X+ accelerometers, and height and weight were measured. Data on parental education, neighborhood collective efficacy, and accessibility to neighborhood recreation facilities were collected from parent questionnaires. Country latitude and climate statistics were collected through national weather data sources. Gender-stratified multilevel models with parental education, climate, and neighborhood variables as covariates were used to examine the relationship between outdoor time, accelerometry measures, and body mass index z scores. RESULTS: Each additional hour per day spent outdoors was associated with higher moderate- to vigorous-intensity PA (boys: +2.8 min/d; girls: +1.4 min/d), higher light-intensity PA (boys: +2.0 min/d; girls: +2.3 min/d), and lower SED (boys: -6.3 min/d; girls: -5.1 min/d). Effect sizes were generally weaker in lower-middle-income countries. Outdoor time was not associated with body mass index z scores. CONCLUSIONS: Outdoor time was associated with higher PA and lower SED independent of climate, parental education, and neighborhood variables, but effect sizes were small. However, more research is needed in low- and middle-income countries.