Every Minute Counts: Patterns and Times of Physical Activity Participation in Children From Socially Disadvantaged Areas in Ireland

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background: The purpose of this study was to investigate daily physical activity (PA) patterns of 8- to 9-year-old Irish children from socially disadvantaged areas. Methods: Children (N = 408) were asked to wear an ActiGraph accelerometer for a minimum of 4 days. Based on mean daily moderate- to vigorous-intensity PA accumulation, participants were grouped into sex-specific quartiles (Q4, most active; Q1, least active). Principal component analysis was used to identify distinct time blocks for weekdays and weekend days. Results: Overall, 213 participants (8.7 [0.5] y) met accelerometer inclusion criteria. Of these, 56.7% met the 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity PA per day guidelines, with males statistically significantly more likely to do so than females (P < .01). Principal component analysis revealed 3 distinct time periods on weekdays and 4 distinct periods on weekends that children were active. The total difference in moderate- to vigorous-intensity PA accumulation between Q4 (most active) and Q1 (least active) was greatest in the after-school time period (male: 49 min and female: 33 min) on weekdays and in the evening time period on weekends (male: 33 min and female: 19 min). Conclusions: After-school and weekend evenings are critical “activity rich” time periods in terms of the gap between our most and least active disadvantaged children.

Belton and Powell are with the School of Health & Human Performance, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland. Breslin, Shannon, Fitzpatrick, Haughey, McCullagh, and Brennan are with Sport and Exercise Sciences Research Institute, Ulster University, Jordanstown, United Kingdom. O’Brien and Chambers are with Sports Studies and Physical Education Department, School of Education, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland.

Belton (sarahjane.belton@dcu.ie) is corresponding author.
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