Open Access Research

Physical activity and sedentary behaviours in Greek-Cypriot children and adolescents: a cross-sectional study

Constantinos A Loucaides12*, Russell Jago3 and Maria Theophanous4

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Education, The Open University of Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus

2 Second Elementary School, Lemesos, Cyprus

3 Centre for Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences, School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol, 8 Priory Road, Bristol, UK

4 Cyprus Pedagogical Institute, Ministry of Education and Culture, Nicosia, Cyprus, 2238 Latsia, P.O. Box 12720, 2252 Nicosia, Cyprus

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International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2011, 8:90  doi:10.1186/1479-5868-8-90

Published: 19 August 2011

Abstract

Background

There are no data on physical activity and sedentary behaviours of Greek-Cypriot children and adolescents, and no study to date examined the association between these two behaviours in this population. The purpose of this study was to document the prevalence of physical activity and sedentary behaviours among Greek-Cypriot adolescents and examine the association between physical activity and a range of sedentary behaviours. Logistic regression analyses were performed to examine the association between physical activity and sedentary behaviours.

Methods

A cross-sectional study among 1,966 Greek-Cypriot children and adolescents was conducted in 2008/2009. Data were collected by means of a questionnaire across primary, middle, high and technical/vocational schools.

Results

Overall 52.3% and 52.4% of the participants met physical activity and television viewing guidelines respectively. Boys and younger children were more likely to meet guidelines. Boys who attended sports clubs for two or more times per week were more likely to be physically active (OR = 3.4), and those who listened to music for one or less than one hour per day were less likely to be physically active (OR = 0.6). Girls who attended sports clubs for two or more times per week and who watched television for two or less than two hours per day were more likely to be physically active, (OR = 3.0 and OR = 1.5 respectively). Girls who reported travelling by car/bus/motorbike for one or less than one hour per day were more likely to actively travel to school (OR = 1.8).

Conclusions

Findings from this study provide limited support for the displacement hypothesis whereby sedentary behaviours displace physically active time. About 50.0% of Greek children and adolescents in Cyprus meet existing physical activity and television viewing guidelines. Encouraging children to attend sports clubs for at least two times per week may markedly improve their physical activity levels.