Time spent outdoors at midday and children's body mass index
American Public Health Association
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Exercise, Biomedical and Health Science, Child Health Promotion Research Centre
Objectives: We investigated whether the Kidskin sun protection intervention increased children’s body mass index by reducing the time spent outdoors at midday. Methods: The Kidskin sun protection intervention involved 1614 Australian school children assigned to 1 of 3 groups: a control group, a moderate-intervention group, or a high-intervention group. Schools in the control group received the standard health curriculum and schools in the intervention groups received a multicomponent intervention. Outcomes included time spent outdoors and nevus development (a marker of melanoma risk). Height and weight were measured at 3 time points. Body mass index was transformed into age- and gender-specific z scores; z scores at each age were modeled simultaneously. Time spent outdoors at ages 10 and 12 years was analyzed using a linear mixed effects modeling. Results: The proportion of children who were overweight or obese increased with age. The moderate-intervention and control groups had a minimal increase in z score over time, and the z score for the high-intervention group decreased over time. There were no differences among groups with respect to total time outdoors at any age. Conclusions: It is possible to reduce the time children spend outdoors when ultraviolet radiation is high without producing an unfavorable effect on the children’s body mass index.