UBC Faculty Research and Publications

What Is the Relationship between Outdoor Time and Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviour, and Physical Fitness in Children? A Systematic Review Gray, Casey; Gibbons, Rebecca; Larouche, Richard; Sandseter, Ellen Beate Hansen; Bienenstock, Adam; Brussoni, Mariana; Chabot, Guylaine; Herrington, Susan; Janssen, Ian; Pickett, William; Power, Marlene; Stanger, Nick; Sampson, Margaret; Tremblay, Mark S.


The objective of this systematic review was to examine the relationship between outdoor time and: (1) physical activity, (2) cardiorespiratory fitness, (3) musculoskeletal fitness, (4) sedentary behaviour; or (5) motor skill development in children aged 3–12 years. We identified 28 relevant studies that were assessed for quality using the GRADE framework. The systematic review revealed overall positive effects of outdoor time on physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and cardiorespiratory fitness, although causality could not be assumed due to a lack of RCTs. Motor skill development was unrelated to outdoor time; however, this relationship was only examined in a single study of preschool children. No studies were found that examined associations between outdoor time and musculoskeletal fitness.

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