Obesity Indicators 2014

This publication reports the latest available data for 16 indicators selected to monitor progress for the Prevention of Obesity Route Map. Most indicators are updated up to 2013, but for some indicators data is more or less up-to-date than this.

This document is part of a collection

Proportion of children engaging in sedentary activities

Indicator Source: Scottish Health Survey


  • In 2013, children (aged 2 to 15 years) spent a mean time of 2.1 hours sitting watching a television or other screen on weekdays and 2.8 hours on weekend days (excluding time at school).
  • The rates for all children have been relatively stable since 2003, at around 2.0 to 2.3 mean hours on weekdays and 2.7 to 2.9 hours on weekend days.
  • Boys spent more time sitting watching a television or other screen than girls, particularly at weekends when the mean times recorded were 3.0 hours for boys and 2.6 hours for girls.
  • The proportion of children spending four or more hours sitting watching a television or other screen on an average day (excluding time in school) in 2013 was 12% (13% for boys, 10% for girls). This small increase from 11% (12% for boys, 10% for girls) in 2012 was not statistically significant.

Proportion of children sitting for 4+ hours per day at a TV/ other screen on an average day, by sex 2003-2013


Desired Outcome:
Increased energy expenditure.

Time spent at a screen on an average day (including weekdays and weekends) excluding time at school.

Relevant Route Map action:
Early years actions, specifically less sedentary activities for young children.

Geography available:

Equalities data:
Breakdowns by four equalities groups are possible (sexual orientation and religion are not asked of children), but not all are available annually.

Rationale for including this indicator:
The aim of this indicator is to monitor the proportion of children engaging in sedentary behaviour such as hours spent sitting at screen on an average day.

Factors influencing this indicator:

  • Choice of leisure activities.
  • Availability of alternatives to screen-based activity.
  • Safe outdoor spaces to play.


Email: Daniel Adams

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