Footprints in Time: Physical Activity Levels and Sociodemographic and Movement-Related Associations Within the Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background: Emerging evidence suggests that Indigenous children have higher physical activity levels that non-Indigenous children, yet little is known of the factors that influence these levels or how they may be optimized. This study examines correlates of achieving ≥1 hour/day of physical activity among Indigenous Australian children aged 8–13 years. Methods: Data were collected through parental self-report in the Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children. Proportions of children achieving ≥1 hour/day physical activity, approximating the Australian aerobic physical activity recommendations, were calculated, and associations with sociodemographic, family composition, and movement-related factors were quantified using multiple logistic regression analyses. Results: Half of the 1233 children achieved ≥1 hour/day physical activity. Children from families with low parental education and unemployment, remote residence, low socioeconomic status, and without a father in the household were more likely to meet the recommendations. Achieving ≥1 hour/day of physical activity was also associated with low levels of playing electronic games and total screen time. Conclusions: Sociodemographic correlates of physical activity among Indigenous Australian children run counter to those typically found in non-Indigenous Australian children. Further longitudinal examination of the predictors of these associations would provide a greater understanding of Indigenous physical activity determinants, to inform strategies to facilitate participation.

Macniven is with the School of Population Health, University of New South Wales, Kensington, NSW, Australia; and the Faculty of Medicine and Health, Poche Centre for Indigenous Health, The University of Sydney, Camperdown, NSW, Australia. Wilson is with the Sydney School of Education and Social Work, The University of Sydney, Camperdown, NSW, Australia. Olds is with the Alliance for Research in Exercise, Nutrition and Activity (ARENA), University of South Australia, Adelaide, SA, Australia. Evans is with the School of Public Health, University of Technology Sydney, Ultimo, NSW, Australia.

Macniven (r.macniven@unsw.edu.au) is corresponding author.

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