Examining self-reported sedentary behaviour among children and youth with physical disabilities


A growing body of research links time spent in sedentary bahaviours (SED) with increased cardio-metabolic disease risk independent of physical activity (PA) levels. Current Canadian SED guidelines state that children and youth should reduce their recreational screen time (RST) to 2 hours daily. Limited research has quantified RST among children and youth with physical disabilites.Therefore, the current study examined self-reported RST among children and youth with physical disabilities living in the Greater Toronto Area. This project is part of a larger, cross-sectional study examining PA and SED within this population. The COMPASS (Leatherdale et al., 2014) SED questionnaire was administered (face-to-face or via mail) to eligible participants across a variety of recreational and rehabilitation organizations. Participants were recruited to recall (in minutes) the time spent in a range of SED (i.e., RST [watching television, texting, playing computer games, surfing the internet] and other SED [doing homework]) over the previous 24-hour period. Mean daily minutes spent in RST was calculated. Overall, 34 participants (Mage = 15.34 ± 3.2 yrs) completed the survey, with the majority (62%) of participants being male, and wheelchair users (47%). Most (91%) participants engaged in over 2 hours per day of RST, with an average of 6.2 hours/day. The majority of time (2 hours/day) was spent watching television. These preliminary findings demonstrate that children and youth with physical disabilities are exceeding the current SED guidelines. Further research is warranted to include objective measures of SED within this population. This will be important for examining relationships between engagement in SED and health, and to inform future intervention work.