Children not at play: Associations between sedentary activity and environmental exposures among Mexico City youth

Authors: Sandy Wong*, Florida State University, Martha María Téllez-Rojo, Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública, Alejandra Cantoral, Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública, Ivan Pantic, Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública, Emily Oken, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Jennifer W. Thompson, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Katherine Svensson, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Kodi Arfer, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Robert O. Wright, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Andrea A. Baccarelli, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, Itai Kloog, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Allan C. Just, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Topics: Medical and Health Geography, Environmental Science, Quantitative Methods
Keywords: sedentary activity, physical activity, environmental exposure, children, GIS
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/3/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Wilson A, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Global increases in sedentary behavior are a major public health concern requiring research into its causes. We investigate environmental factors such as temperature and green space that may predict sedentary activity among children 4-6 years of age, since inactive children are less likely to exercise regularly over the course of their life. We used children’s data collected in the years 2013-15 in the Mexico City PROGRESS cohort (n=559). Children wore accelerometers for a week recording their activity levels. We calculated percent daily sedentary activity using 10-second epoch vertical counts. We estimated children’s exposure to green space using 50m resolution seasonal maximum NDVI and exposure to air temperature with a daily 1km resolution model developed by our group using data from satellite-based land surface temperature and weather stations. For our analysis, we used generalized additive models adjusted for seasonality and child and mother covariates, including child BMI z-scores. We found maximum and mean daily temperatures to have an inverse linear relationship with percent sedentary activity. We also found the following covariates to have a significant association with sedentary activity: daylight, precipitation, and sleep. We did not find a significant relationship between green space and sedentary activity. Our findings suggest that temperature, but not green space, is an important environmental influence associated with children’s sedentary activity in Mexico City. Our findings may not generalize to other climates or non-urban areas that have more green space. We recommend that future geospatial health projects consider weather variations when analyzing physical (in)activity data.

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