Children’s Objective Physical Activity by Location: Why the Neighborhood Matters

in Pediatric Exercise Science
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  • 1 University of Washington
  • 2 Seattle Children’s Research Institute
  • 3 University of California
  • 4 University of Pennsylvania
  • 5 University of British Columbia

Knowledge of where children are active may lead to more informed policies about how and where to intervene and improve physical activity. This study examined where children aged 6–11 were physically active using time-stamped accelerometer data and parent-reported place logs and assessed the association of physical-activity location variation with demographic factors. Children spent most time and did most physical activity at home and school. Although neighborhood time was limited, this time was more proportionally active than time in other locations (e.g., active 42.1% of time in neighborhood vs. 18.1% of time at home). Children with any neighborhood-based physical activity had higher average total physical activity. Policies and environments that encourage children to spend time outdoors in their neighborhoods could result in higher overall physical activity.

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Kneeshaw-Price, Hannon, and Grembowski are with the Dept. of Health Services, and Chan the Dept. of Biostatistics, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington. Saelens is with the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development, Seattle Children’s Research Institute, Seattle, WA. Sallis, Kerr, and Cain are with the Dept. of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of California, San Diego, California. Glanz is with the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Frank is with the School of Community and Regional Planning, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia.