It’s A-bout Time: Detailed Patterns of Physical Activity in Obese Adolescents Participating in a Lifestyle Intervention

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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The detailed patterns of physical activity and sedentary behaviors of overweight and obese adolescents are unknown, but may be important for health outcomes and targeted intervention design.


Participants completed Curtin University’s Activity, Food and Attitudes Program (CAFAP), an 8-week intervention with 12 months of maintenance intervention. Physical activity and sedentary time were assessed at 6 time periods with accelerometers and were analyzed by 1) time and type of day, 2) intensity bout patterns using exposure variation analysis, and 3) individual case analysis.


Participants (n = 56) spent a lower percentage of time at baseline in light activity during school days compared with weekend days (24.4% vs 29.0%, P = .004). The majority of time was in long uninterrupted sedentary bouts of greater than 30 minutes (26.7% of total time, 36.8% of sedentary time at baseline). Moderate activity was accumulated in short bouts of less than 5 minutes (3.1% of total time, 76.0% moderate time). Changes varied by individuals.


Exposure variation analysis revealed specific changes in activity patterns in overweight and obese adolescents who participated in a lifestyle intervention. A better understanding of these patterns can help to design interventions that meaningfully affect specific behaviors, with unique health consequences.

Howie (, McVeigh, Abbott, and Straker are with the Dept of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science, Curtin University, Perth, WA, Australia. Olds is with the School of Health Sciences, University of South Australia, Adelaide, SA, Australia.