Pearson, N., Haycraft, E., Johnston, J.P., & Atkins, A.J.
Preventative Medicine. 2017
The transition from primary/middle school to secondary/high school is likely to be a key period in children’s development, characterised by significant changes in their social and physical environment. However, little is known about the changes in sedentary behaviour that accompany this transition. This review aimed to identify, critically appraise and summarise the evidence on changes in sedentary behaviour across the primary – secondary school transition. Published English language studies were located from computerised and manual searches in 2015. Inclusion criteria specified a longitudinal design, baseline assessment when children were in primary/middle school with at least one follow-up during secondary/high school and a measure of sedentary behaviour at both (or all) points of assessment. Based on data from 11 articles (19 independent samples), tracking coefficients were typically in the range of 0.3 to 0.5 and relatively consistent across the different sedentary behaviours examined and durations of follow-up. Both screen-based sedentary behaviour and overall sedentary time increased during the school transition. Overall there was an increase of approximately 10–20 min per day per year in accelerometer-assessed sedentary time. Consistent with the broader age-related changes in behaviour observed during this period, sedentary behaviour increases during the transition from primary/middle to secondary/high school. Investigating features of the social and physical environment that might exacerbate or attenuate this trend would be a valuable next step.