Open Access Research

Examination of mid-intervention mediating effects on objectively assessed sedentary time among children in the Transform-Us! cluster-randomized controlled trial

Valerie Carson1, Jo Salmon2*, Lauren Arundell2, Nicola D Ridgers2, Ester Cerin2, Helen Brown2, Kylie D Hesketh2, Kylie Ball2, Mai Chinapaw3, Mine Yildirim3, Robin M Daly2, David W Dunstan4 and David Crawford2

Author Affiliations

1 Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada

2 Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

3 Depertment of Public and Occupational Health, EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

4 Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

For all author emails, please log on.

International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2013, 10:62  doi:10.1186/1479-5868-10-62

Published: 20 May 2013

Abstract

Background

The optimal targets and strategies for effectively reducing sedentary behavior among young people are unknown. Intervention research that explores changes in mediated effects as well as in outcome behaviors is needed to help inform more effective interventions. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the mid-intervention mediating effects on children’s objectively assessed classroom and total weekday sedentary time in the Transform-Us! intervention.

Methods

The results are based on 293 children, aged 7- to 9-years-old at baseline, from 20 schools in Melbourne, Australia. Each school was randomly allocated to one of four groups, which targeted reducing sedentary time in the school and family settings (SB; n = 74), increasing or maintaining moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity in the school and family settings (PA; n = 75), combined SB and PA (SB + PA; n = 80), or the current practice control (C; n = 64). Baseline and mid-intervention data (5–9 months) were collected in 2010 and analyzed in 2012. Classroom and total weekday sedentary time was objectively assessed using ActiGraph accelerometers. The hypothesized mediators including, child enjoyment, parent and teacher outcome expectancies, and child perceived access to standing opportunities in the classroom environment, were assessed by questionnaire.

Results

The SB + PA group spent 13.3 min/day less in weekday sedentary time at mid-intervention compared to the control group. At mid-intervention, children in the SB group had higher enjoyment of standing in class (0.9 units; 5-unit scale) and all intervention groups had more positive perceptions of access to standing opportunities in the classroom environment (0.3-0.4 units; 3-unit scale), compared to the control group. However, none of the hypothesized mediator variables had an effect on sedentary time; thus, no mediating effects were observed.

Conclusions

While beneficial intervention effects were observed on some hypothesized mediating variables and total weekday sedentary time at mid-intervention, no significant mediating effects were found. Given the dearth of existing information, future intervention research is needed that explores mediated effects. More work is also needed on the development of reliable mediator measures that are sensitive to change overtime.

Trial registration

ACTRN12609000715279

ISRCTN83725066

Keywords:
Sedentary behavior; Intervention; Mediators; Children