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.