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Objective measurement of levels and patterns of physical activity
  1. Chris J Riddoch (cjr27{at}
  1. University of Bath, United Kingdom
    1. Calum Mattocks (c.mattocks{at}
    1. University of Bristol, United Kingdom
      1. Kevin Deere (kevin.deere{at}
      1. University of Bristol, United Kingdom
        1. Jo Saunders (jo.saunders{at}
        1. University of Bristol, United Kingdom
          1. Joanne Kirkby (joanne.kirkby{at}
          1. University of Bristol, United Kingdom
            1. Kate Tilling (kate.tilling{at}
            1. University of Bristol, United Kingdom
              1. Sam D Leary (s.d.leary{at}
              1. University of Bristol, United Kingdom
                1. Steve Blair (sblair{at}
                1. University of South Carolina, United States
                  1. Andrew Ness (andy.ness{at}
                  1. University of Bristol, United Kingdom


                    Objective: To measure the levels and patterns of physical activity, using accelerometers, of 11-year-old children participating in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC).

                    Design: Cross-sectional analysis.

                    Setting: ALSPAC is a birth cohort study located in the former county of Avon, in the south west of England. This study utilizes data collected when the children were 11 years old.

                    Participants: 5,595 children (2,662 boys, 2,933 girls). The children are the offspring of women recruited to a birth cohort study during 1991-92. The children are now 11.8 (11.6, 11.9) (median, 95%CI) years old.

                    Methods: Physical activity was measured over a maximum of seven consecutive days using the MTI Actigraph accelerometer. Main outcome measures: Level and pattern of physical activity.

                    Results: The median physical activity level was 580 counts/min. Boys were more active than girls [median (IQR) 644 (528, 772) counts/min v. 529 (444, 638) counts/min]. Only 2.6% (95%CI 2.2, 3.0) of children [boys 5.1% (95%CI 4.2, 5.6), girls 0.5% (95%CI 0.2, 0.7)] met current internationally recognized recommendations for physical activity. Children were most active in summer and least active in winter (difference = 108 counts/min). Both the mother’s and partner’s education level were inversely associated with activity level (p for trend <0.001 (both mother and partner). The association was lost for mother’s education (p for trend = 0.07) and attenuated for partner’s education (p for trend =0.02), after adjustment for age, gender, season, maternal age and social class.

                    Conclusions: A large majority of children are insufficiently active, according to current recommended levels for health.

                    • Accelerometers
                    • Children
                    • Epidemiology
                    • Health
                    • Physical activity

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