Influence of parental history of hypertension on screen time and physical activity in young offspring.

J Hypertens. 2011 Dec 15 Gopinath B, Hardy LL, Baur LA, Teber E, Mitchell P. aCentre for Vision Research, Department of Ophthalmology and Westmead Millennium Institute bPhysical Activity, Nutrition and Obesity Research Group, University of Sydney, Sydney cUniversity of Sydney Clinical School, The Children's Hospital at Westmead, Westmead, New South Wales, Australia.

OBJECTIVE: Epidemiological data on the relationship between parental hypertension and lifestyle factors among children are limited. We assessed the associations between positive parental history of hypertension with a range of indicators of sedentariness (television viewing, computer and videogame usage) and physical activity (outdoor and indoor activity) among prepubertal children.

METHODS: Six-year-old (1765 of 2238 eligible) students from a random cluster sample of 34 Sydney schools were examined. Parents completed questionnaires about their medical conditions and the child's activities. If the biological mother and/or father had hypertension, then this was classified as positive parental history of hypertension.

RESULTS: Parents of 160 (9.2%) children gave a positive family history of hypertension. After adjusting for age, sex, ethnicity, parental education and employment and exposure to passive smoking, children with, compared with those without, a family history of hypertension were more likely to spend above the median time (hours/day) watching television and playing videogames [odds ratio (OR) 1.41, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.02-1.96; OR 1.52, CI 1.12-2.06, respectively]. The offspring of hypertensive parents were more likely to spend above the median time in total physical activity (OR 1.67, 95% CI 1.23-2.27). Maternal (but not paternal) hypertension was associated with increased time spent watching television (P = 0.03) and in outdoor activity (P = 0.01).

CONCLUSION: Parental hypertension influences the time that prepubertal offspring spend in both active and sedentary pursuits. These findings highlight potential factors that could be addressed in the development of cardiovascular disease-preventive measures starting early in life among the offspring of hypertensive parents.

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