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Jakob Tarp, Lars B. Andersen and Lars Østergaard


Cycling to and from school is an important source of physical activity (PA) in youth but it is not captured by the dominant objective method to quantify PA. The aim of this study was to quantify the underestimation of objectively assessed PA caused by cycling when using accelerometry.


Participants were 20 children aged 11 to 14 years from a randomized controlled trial performed in 2011. Physical activity was assessed by accelerometry with the addition of heart rate monitoring during cycling to school. Global positioning system (GPS) was used to identify periods of cycling to school.


Mean minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) during round-trip commutes was 10.8 (95% CI: 7.1−16.6). Each kilometer of cycling meant an underestimation of 9314 (95% CI: 7719−11238) counts and 2.7 (95% CI: 2.1−3.5) minutes of MVPA. Adjusting for cycling to school increased estimates of MVPA/day by 6.0 (95% CI: 3.8−9.6) minutes.


Cycling to and from school contribute substantially to levels of MVPA and to mean counts/min in children. This was not collected by accelerometers. Using distance to school in conjunction with self-reported cycling to school may be a simple tool to improve the methodology.

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Jakob Tarp, Anna Bugge, Niels Christian Møller, Heidi Klakk, Christina Trifonov Rexen, Anders Grøntved and Niels Wedderkopp

Background: The role of muscle fitness in controlling cardiometabolic risk factors during childhood is incompletely understood. Methods: A prospective observational design including 6- to 11-year-old children (n = 512) was used to study associations between 1.5-year changes in handgrip strength, standing vertical jump displacement, the short shuttle run, and a composite of these with changes in composite and single cardiometabolic risk markers. The authors modeled sequential mixed linear regressions controlling for changes in cardiorespiratory fitness, waist circumference, and other putative confounding variables. Results: Statistically significant associations, standardized beta (95% confidence intervals), were observed between changes in composite muscle fitness −0.19 (−0.30 to −0.07), muscular strength −0.15 (−0.25 to −0.06), and agility 0.14 (0.04 to 0.23), but not muscular power −0.06 (−0.14 to 0.03) with changes in the composite risk score. In sex-stratified analysis, associations were robust in girls, but not in boys. Control for changes in cardiorespiratory fitness and waist circumference greatly attenuated associations. Changes in muscle fitness were strongly associated with changes in waist circumference in both girls −0.21 (−0.37 to −0.05) and boys −0.23 (−0.35 to −0.11) after controlling for cardiorespiratory fitness. Conclusions: Our data support a unique role of muscle fitness in the promotion of metabolic health and prevention of excess adipose tissue accumulation in children.