Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior Patterns of Singaporean Adolescents

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Jamie Lye Ching Ting
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Swarup Mukherjee
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Michael Chia Yong Hwa
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Background:

Adolescents require at least 60 minutes of daily moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity (PA) for optimum health benefits. Reduced active and increased sedentary time can adversely affect health independently. This study investigated the sedentary behavior and physical activity patterns of Singaporean adolescents.

Methods:

233 adolescents aged 13 to 15 years participated in the study. Accelerometry was used to assess the daily PA patterns for 3 weekdays and 2 weekend days consecutively. Height, weight, BMI, waist circumference and waist-hip ratio were determined as surrogate measures of health.

Results:

None of the participants achieved the recommended 60 minutes of daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) on all 5 days. Significantly more time was spent engaging in sedentary activity compared with MVPA on both weekdays and weekends. MVPA and sedentary time were positively associated on weekdays after controlling for gender (P < .001). Weekday MVPA was positively associated with waist circumference (P < .001) and waist-hip ratio (P < .001).

Conclusion:

Singaporean adolescents fall substantially short of meeting the daily PA recommendations. Separate strategies to promote PA may be necessary for adolescents of differing weight status and gender. Pragmatic rather than idealistic targets to promote PA need to be set based on population-specific baseline data.

The authors are with Physical Education and Sports Science, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

Mukherjee (swarup.mukherjee@nie.edu.sg) is corresponding author.
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