Correlates of outdoor time in schoolchildren from families speaking non-official languages at home: a multi-site Canadian study

Background: Previous research shows that children from ethnic minority groups spend less time outdoors. Using data collected in 3 regions of Canada, we investigated the correlates of outdoor time among schoolchildren who spoke a nonofficial language at home.

Methods: A total of 1699 children were recruited from 37 schools stratified by area-level socioeconomic status and type of urbanization. Among these, 478 spoke a nonofficial language at home. Childrens outdoor time and data on potential correlates were collected via questionnaires. Gender-stratified linear multiple regression models examined the correlates of outdoor time while controlling for age and sampling variables.

Results: In boys, higher independent mobility, higher outdoor air temperature, mobile phone ownership, having older parents, and parents who biked to work were associated with more outdoor time. Boys living in suburban (vs urban) areas spent less time outdoors. The association between independent mobility and outdoor time became weaker with increasing age for boys. In girls, lower parental education and greater parental concerns about neighborhood safety and social cohesion were associated with less outdoor time.

Conclusions: Correlates of outdoor time differ by gender and span the social ecological model underscoring the need for gender-sensitized interventions targeted at individual, family, social, and physical environmental correlates to increase outdoor time.

Lead Researchers

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  1. Mark S. Tremblay

    Senior Scientist, CHEO Research Institute

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