Longitudinal Trajectories of Children’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviors on Weekdays and Weekends

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background: The objective was to examine changes of children’s time spent in sedentary, light physical activity, moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA), and estimated energy expenditure (EE) rates during weekdays and weekends across 3 years. Methods: An initial sample of 261 children’s (mean age = 7.81 y) 5-day physical activity and EE were assessed annually via accelerometry across 3 years using repeated-measures multivariate analysis of variance. The outcome variables were time spent in sedentary, light physical activity, MVPA, and kilocalories per day for weekdays and weekends. Results: A significant decrease in MVPA and EE occurred during weekdays across the 3 years (P = .01). Only the second-year data demonstrated an increase (+2.49 min) in weekend MVPA (P = .04). Children’s sedentary time during weekdays increased significantly in years 1 and 2 (P = .01), yet significantly decreased in the third year (−44.31 min). Children’s sedentary time during weekends significantly decreased in the first year (−27.31 min), but increased in the following 2 years (P = .01). Children’s light physical activity demonstrated a statistically significant increase in year 2 (+3.75 min) during weekdays (P = .05). Conclusions: Children’s MVPA and EE generally declined during weekdays but were maintained during weekends across a 3-year time span. Children may benefit most from weekday intervention strategies.

Zhang is with the College of Health Sciences, East Stroudsburg University, East Stroudsburg, PA, USA. Lee is with the Department of Applied Human Sciences, University of Minnesota-Duluth, Duluth, MN, USA. Stodden is with the Department of Physical Education, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, USA. Gao is with the School of Kinesiology, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Minneapolis, MN, USA.

Gao (gaoz@umn.edu) is corresponding author.
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