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Kathryn L. Weston, Nicoleta Pasecinic, and Laura Basterfield

Purpose: Despite recent updates to international normative values for physical fitness in young people, contemporary data sets from England are sparse with no published data available from the North East. We compared physical fitness in children from one primary school in North East England to International and European reference data, and other English regions. Methods: Eighty participants (mean age [SD]: 9.1 [0.6] y) completed a testing battery of 20-m shuttle run test, handgrip strength, standing broad jump, and sit-and-reach. Scores for each component were assessed against International or European age- and sex-specific centiles, then grouped into quintiles. Differences between our sample and European and English data sets were explored using z scores and t tests. Results: For all components, ≥58% of participants were classified as having “moderate” or lower levels. Twenty-meter shuttle run test performance was not substantially different compared with other English data sets. For handgrip and sit-and-reach, our sample scored significantly worse than South East children. Standing broad jump distance in girls, and handgrip in boys and girls, was significantly lower than North West equivalents. Conclusion: Physical fitness levels in primary school children from North East England are suboptimal, highlighting a need for large-scale monitoring studies to build on our preliminary findings.

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Chiaki Tanaka, Xanne Janssen, Mark Pearce, Kathryn Parkinson, Laura Basterfield, Ashley Adamson, and John J. Reilly

Background: Previous studies have reported on the associations between obesity and sedentary behavior (SB) or physical activity (PA) in children. This study examined longitudinal and bidirectional associations between adiposity and SB and PA in children. Methods: Participants were 356 children in England. PA was measured at 7 and 9 years of age using accelerometry. Outcome and exposures were time in SB and PAs and concurrent body mass index z score and fat index (FI). Results: Adiposity at baseline was positively associated with changes in SB (β = 0.975 for FI) and negatively associated with changes in moderate to vigorous PA (β = −0.285 for body mass index z score, β = −0.607 for FI), vigorous PA (β = −0.095 for FI), and total PA (β = −48.675 for FI), but not vice versa. The changes in SB, moderate to vigorous PA, and total PA for children with overweight/obesity were significantly more adverse than those for children with healthy weight. Conclusions: A high body mass index z score or high body fatness at baseline was associated with lower moderate to vigorous PA and vigorous PA after 2 years, but not vice versa, which suggests that in this cohort adiposity influenced PA and SB, but the associations between adiposity and SB or PA were not bidirectional.

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Laura Basterfield, Ashley J. Adamson, Mark S. Pearce, and John J. Reilly


Accelerometry is rapidly becoming the instrument of choice for measuring physical activity in children. However, as limited data exist on the minimum number of days accelerometry required to provide a reliable estimate of habitual physical activity, we aimed to quantify the number of days of recording required to estimate both habitual physical activity and habitual sedentary behavior in primary school children.


We measured physical activity and sedentary behavior over 7 days in 291 6- to 8-year-olds using Actigraph accelerometers. Between-day intraclass reliability coefficients were calculated and averaged across all combinations of days.


Although reliability increased with time, 3 days of recording provided reliabilities for volume of activity, moderate-vigorous intensity activity, and sedentary behavior of 68%, 71%, and 73%, respectively.


For our sample and setting, 3 days accelerometry provided reliable estimates of the main constructs of physical activity and sedentary behavior.