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Association of sedentary time and low back pain in children and adolescents

Kaja Kastelic; Nastja Podrekar; Nejc Šarabon

Low back pain (LBP) is common in children and adolescents. Several risk factors have been proposed, including prolonged sitting. The aim of this study was to review the literature on association between sitting/sedentary time or specific sedentary behaviour and LBP in children and adolescents.

A literature search was conducted using PubMed electronic database in April 2019. The following key words (and the synonyms) were searched: low back pain, child or adolescent, sitting or sedentary behaviour, and risk factor.

Out of 486 items found, 55 relevant studies were identified (48 cross-sectional, 2 prospective and 5 cross-sectional and prospective). Evidence for the association between LBP and TV time, computer time, time using mobile phone and educational sitting time were conflicting. In cross-sectional studies, time spent playing digital games and total screen time (or combination of different screen technologies) showed positive association, while in prospective studies no association were found. Finally, limited evidence for no association between LBP and total daily sedentary time were found.

Our findings indicate that the association between sitting/sedentary time and LBP in children and adolescents is largely unknown. Most studies are cross-sectional with self-reported screen time. Studies including objective measure of total sitting/sedentary time are needed.

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