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Original articles  EPIDEMIOLOGY AND CLINICAL MEDICINE 

The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2007 June;47(2):217-22

Copyright © 2007 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Habitual physical activity levels in childhood and adolescence assessed with accelerometry

Lopes V. P. 1, Vasques C. M. S. 1, Maia J. A. R. 2, Ferreira J. C. V. 3

1 School of Education, Polytechnic Institute of Bragança, Portugal 2 Laboratory of Kinanthropometry, Faculty of Sports University of Porto, Porto, Portugal 3 School of Education, Polytechnic Institute of Viseu, Portugal


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Aim. The purposes of this study were: 1) to evaluate age and gender differences in physical activity (PA) of children and adolescents; 2) to find out if children and adolescents fulfill the PA recommendations of 60 min*day-1 of moderate (MPA) to vigorous PA (VPA).
Methods. PA was assessed in 265 female and 238 male subjects, ranging from 6 to 18 years of age, grouped in 4 age groups, with MTI ActiGraph model 7164, during 7 consecutive days. The MTI actigraph data was reduced to bouts (30-, 20-, 10-, and 5-min) and minutes spent in MPA, VPA, and very VPA (VVPA).
Results. The oldest boys and girls revealed a lower number of PA bouts than the younger ones. Significant gender differences were found in daily VPA, F(1, 492)=37.67, P<0.001; and VVPA F(1, 494)=24.11, P<0.001. Boys were more active than girls. Significant age group differences were also found in MPA, F(3, 494)=87.4, P<0.001; VPA, F(3, 492)=78.15, P<0.001; and VVPA, F(3, 454)=54.89, P<0.001. In both genders MPA, VPA and VVPA decreased with age. Till the age of 14, children had means between 79.6±30.6 and 144.1±76.9 min*day-1 of PA. After this age, there was a decrease to 44.1±19.9 min*day-1 in girls and to 56.3±31.9 min*day-1 in boys.
Conclusion. Boys had more minutes a day of VPA and VVPA than girls. PA decreased with age. The subjects of this study, aged 6 to 15, fulfilled the recommendations of 60 min*day-1 of MPA to VPA.

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