Karolinska Institutet (KI) to assess physical activity, sitting and screen-time behavior for children and adults

8 February 2017

Too much time spent sedentary and low levels of physical activity, as a consequence of modern lifestyle, have negative effects on health and remain among the most important global health challenges of the 21st Century.

Novel research demonstrates an independent effect of frequency of breaks in sedentary behavior (SB) with standing and physical activity (PA) breaks on energy expenditure, which provides an explanation for the association between frequency of sedentary breaks and adiposity observed in epidemiological data. However, the relationship between volumes or patterns of SB and health indicators is less clear.

Self-reported screen-time is consistently associated with increased health risks, independent of levels of PA, while such relationships are not seen when SB is measured objectively. These findings raise questions about the health impact of sitting per se, in comparison to the impact of screen-time.

Screen-time in excess of public health guidelines is highly prevalent in children globally and the population-attributable risk associated with this exposure is potentially high for developing obesity related diseases and depression. Similarly, the prevalence of screen-time among adults and children is high, especially in northern European countries. The same activity patterns can be seen in Sweden, where both children and adults are highly inactive and engage in large amounts of screen-time. This project will provide useful information for researchers investigating SB and PA in children and adults and their associations to health outcomes.

Daniel Berglind (PhD) at the Department of Public Health Sciences at Karolinska Institutet (KI) in Stockholm, has teamed up with Imagimob for an academic study with the goal of assessing physical activity, sitting and screen-time behavior for children and adults using artificial intelligence and machine learning. SensorBeat will be used in the study to assess different modalities of physical activity and sedentary behavior.

All the work in this project will be presented at Swedish and international conferences and peer-reviewed scientific journals. The results and methodological approaches, gained from collaboration between KI and Imagimob, will extend to different public health settings at the research facility at the Department of Public Health Sciences Karolinska Institutet.