Childhood obesity is a major public health concern, particularly in low-income and minority youth. Sedentary behavior (SB) has been associated with obesity cross-sectionally and longitudinally and also has demonstrated negative effects on increased metabolic risk and mortality independent of weight. In addition, greater health disparities in sedentary behavior versus diet and physical activity have been shown in minority youth compared to non-minority youth. However, the sedentary behavior intervention literature has several limitations. First, all SB intervention studies used self-reports of SB. As a result, te entire intervention literature on reducing SB is based on self-reported outcomes, which are known to be unreliable. Second, all studies have limited their assessment of SB to TV viewing only, making it unclear how existing interventions affect the broad range of SBs (e,g., texting, video game playing, inactive transportation) or the degree to which time previously spent in SB is reallocated to light, moderate, or vigorous physical activity after an intervention. Third, only three studies focused on minority youth and show mixed effects on weight despite large SB disparities. Interventions also typically target increasing moderate-to-vigorous physical activity as the alternative to sedentary behavior. However, minority youth are more likely to have multiple barriers to MVPA including limited safety, access, and equipment. A novel approach is the promotion of light physical activity to displace SB. This switch represents an easier target and a potentially more appealing alternative than MVPA. Light physical activity may be done simultaneously with television watching or achieved through other popular screen activities including game consoles, avoids common complaints of getting hurt or sweaty, and acknowledges that underserved families are more likely to have safety concerns and a lack of acceptable alternatives. Despite these potential advantages, no interventions to date have promoted light physical activity as a SB displacement target. The proposed study will be conducted in 2 phases. During Phase 1, a parent-based intervention for decreasing accelerometer measured sedentary behaviors through targeting light physical activity will be developed and piloted in low-income youth. During Phase 2, the intervention will be evaluated in a randomized controlled trial (n=40) to determine its effect on decreasing sedentary behavior and relative weight as well as light, moderate, and vigorous physical activity.

Public Health Relevance

Childhood obesity is a major public health concern leading to short-term complications (type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, stigma, bullying) and greater risk for adult obesity which has its own medical and economic consequences. Sedentary behavior has been shown to contribute to obesity and confers additional metabolic risk independent of weight and physical activity levels. The proposed study will develop and evaluate a novel intervention to reduce sedentary behavior in low-income and minority youth who show higher levels of sedentary behavior and are at greater risk for obesity.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Postdoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F32)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZDK1-GRB-2 (M1))
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Podskalny, Judith M,
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Temple University
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Lawman, Hannah G; Mallya, Giridhar; Veur, Stephanie Vander et al. (2015) Trends in relative weight over 1 year in low-income urban youth. Obesity (Silver Spring) 23:436-42
Lawman, Hannah G; Horn, M Lee Van; Wilson, Dawn K et al. (2015) A multilevel approach to examining time-specific effects in accelerometer-assessed physical activity. J Sci Med Sport 18:667-72
Lawman, Hannah G; Vander Veur, Stephanie; Mallya, Giridhar et al. (2015) Changes in quantity, spending, and nutritional characteristics of adult, adolescent and child urban corner store purchases after an environmental intervention. Prev Med 74:81-5
Lawman, Hannah G; Ogden, Cynthia L; Hassink, Sandra et al. (2015) Comparing Methods for Identifying Biologically Implausible Values in Height, Weight, and Body Mass Index Among Youth. Am J Epidemiol 182:359-65
Lawman, Hannah G; Wilson, Dawn K (2014) Associations of social and environmental supports with sedentary behavior, light and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity in obese underserved adolescents. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 11:92