Felix Cronholm, Björn E. Rosengren, Caroline Karlsson and Magnus K. Karlsson
The activity-stat theory infers that total physical activity (PA) in children is constant, independent of environmental interventions.
We conducted a 3-year prospective population-based controlled PA intervention study including, at baseline, 7- to 9-year-old children (66 boys, 40 girls in the intervention and 50 boys, 38 girls in the control group). PA was increased in the intervention group from 60 to 200 minutes/week, while the controls maintained 60 minutes/week. We registered weekly duration of total PA and leisure-time PA and daily duration of sedentary activities, through questionnaires at baseline and 2 and 3 years after baseline.
Between intervention and control groups PA was similar before intervention start. After intervention start, total PA in both genders was increased during the entire period (P-values adjusted for age and Tanner stage at follow-up between 0.001 and 0.002). Duration of sedentary activities was unchanged with no group differences. Children in the intervention group changed their behavior so that they also achieved more leisure-time PA.
A 3-year school-based PA intervention program in prepubertal children increases the duration of total PA without increasing the duration of sedentary activities, and the program seems to initiate more PA during leisure-time. Our results refute the activity-stat theory.
Magnus Dencker, Tina Tanha, Per Wollmer, Magnus K. Karlsson, Lars Bo Andersen and Ola Thorsson
Limited data exist of tracking and changes in accelerometer-measured physical activity in children.
Physical activity was assessed by accelerometers for 4 days in 167 children (boys, n = 90; girls n = 77) age 9.8 ± 0.6 years. Follow-up measurement was made 2.0 ± 0.1 yrs later (range 1.9−2.1 yrs). General physical activity (GPA) was defined as mean count/minute. Minutes of inactivity; light, moderate, and vigorous physical activity (LMVPA); moderate and vigorous physical activity (MVPA); and vigorous physical activity (VPA) per day were calculated both as absolute values and as percentage of total registration time.
Spearman rank order correlation indicated low tracking of MVPA and VPA in girls (r = .25−0.33, P < .05), and low-moderate tracking of GPA, inactivity, LMVPA, MVPA and VPA in boys (r = .23−0.40, P < .05). Time in inactivity increased at follow-up by 5%−14%. Most of the assessed physical activity variables were decreased at follow-up by 6% to 30%.
Physical activity tracks at a low-moderate degree from age 10−12 years, which confirm previous investigations that have used self-report assessments. The low-moderate tracking of physical activity variables indicate that those who were most active initially remained most active. Increasing inactive behavior was observed and that several other physical activity variables were decreased at follow-up.