Physical Activity, Exercise Physiology, Movement
An ecological momentary assessment study examining the association between television usage and physical activity among low-income mothers of toddlers.
(School of Medicine (UMB) Public Health Master's Student)
Background: Factors in the home environment, such as television usage, have been associated with reduced physical activity (PA) in adults. Traditional methods of assessing home environment factors rely on self-report measures subject to recall bias. Ecological momentary assessment (EMA) is a method of real-time data collection that aims to assess the context of PA behaviors and minimize recall bias. Objectives: The purpose of this study is to examine EMA and accelerometry data in low-income mothers with toddlers to determine if there is an association between PA and whether the television is on/off. Methods: From 2007 to 2010, TOPS collected PA data on mother-toddler dyads recruited from a suburban clinic and an urban pediatric clinic in Maryland. Mothers were given a handheld EMA device (Palm Z22) that prompted them with a social/physical environment survey (53 random beeps over 8 days) and an ankle accelerometer (Actical) to simultaneously assess their PA (data extracted 15 min before/after response, average activity count min-1). Linear mixed-effects regression models with random intercepts and unstructured covariance matrices were used for the analysis of activity counts and TV on/off. Within-subject and between-subject effects were disaggregated with person-mean centering strategy in the mixed models. Results: Of the 277 mothers recruited to participate in the study, 188 had complete data (mean age 26.9 years, 60.6% Black, and 53.2% urban). This resulted in 3987 EMA/PA responses. Within-subject analyses indicated that given a specific participant, having a TV on was associated with 156.63 fewer counts of PA (SE=15.56, p=<0.0001) compared to when the TV was off. Between-subject analyses indicated that having a TV on was associated with 146.97 fewer counts of PA (SE=65.28, p=0.0244) compared to when the television was off. Conclusions: The findings of this study indicate that having a television on in the home environment is associated with reduced PA in low-income mothers with toddlers.