Research Impact: Meeting physical activity and screen time guidelines has been associated with improved health in children. Research has shown that lifestyle behaviours happen in combination and can be tracked into later life. Thus, a complex approach is needed to identify the effects of physical activity and screen time together. This study aimed to identify clusters of both behaviours in a cohort of Irish 3-year-old children (n = 8833) and determine the association with sociodemographic characteristics and behaviours at age 5 and 7-8. Data from the Growing Up in Ireland longitudinal study collected between 2010 and 2016 was used. Our findings highlight the importance of establishing positive health-related behaviours during early childhood, as this predicts future engagement in health-promoting activities. Regardless of screen time level, being part of a cluster with moderate or high levels of physical activity positively influences a child’s future physical activity at age 5 and again at age 7 -8 years. Children who engage in moderate or high levels of physical activity with their parents, are more likely to have active past-times at age 5 and age 7- 8.The multiple layers of influence on a child’s development should be leveraged to support the adoption of health-enhancing behaviours.
Martin, R., Murphy, J., Molina-Soberanes, D. and Murtagh, E.M. (2022) ‘The clustering of physical activity and screen time behaviours in early childhood and impact on future health-related behaviours: a longitudinal analysis of children aged 3 to 8 years’, BMC Public Health, 22(1), 558, available: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12889-022-12944-0.