This study compared physical activity levels among early, average, and late maturing boys and girls.
Physical activity was assessed with an Actigraph accelerometer in 161 (76 boys, 85 girls) 9 to 14 year olds over 7 consecutive days. Anthropometric variables were measured and the maturity offset (ie, years from peak height velocity) was predicted. Biological maturity groups (early, average, and late) were created based on the mean estimated age at peak height velocity for boys and girls separately.
Levels of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) were similar between early, average, and late maturing boys and girls after adjusting for differences in chronological age. Levels of MVPA progressively declined across chronological age in boys and girls (P < .001) and gender differences existed at 10-, 12-, and 13-years, with boys having higher levels than girls (P < .05). When aligned according to biological age, gender-related differences in MVPA did not exist.
Within this sample of 9 to 14 year old boys and girls, there were no significant differences in MVPA among early, average, and late maturing individuals.
Wickel is with the Dept of Exercise and Sport Science, University of Tulsa, Tulsa, OK. Eisenmann is with the Dept of Kinesiology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI. Welk is with the Dept of Health and Human Performance, Iowa State University, Ames, IA.