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Early Predictors of Objectively Measured Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour in 8-10 Year Old Children: The Gateshead Millennium Study

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Mark PearceORCiD, Dr Laura BasterfieldORCiD, Dr Kay Mann, Dr Kathryn Parkinson, Professor Ashley AdamsonORCiD



Background: With a number of studies suggesting associations between early life influences and later chronic disease risk, it is suggested that associations between early growth and later physical activity (PA) may be a mediator. However, conflicting evidence exists for association between birth weight and childhood PA. In addition, it is important to know what other, potentially modifiable, factors may influence PA in children given its' association with childhood and later adiposity. We used the Gateshead Millennium Study (GMS) to identify predictors of childhood PA levels. Methods: The GMS is a cohort of 1029 infants born in 1999-2000 in Gateshead in northern England. Throughout infancy and early childhood, detailed information was collected. Assessments at age 9 years included body composition, objective measures of habitual PA and a range of lifestyle factors. Mean total volumes of PA (accelerometer count per minute, cpm) and moderate-vigorous intensity PA (MVPA), and the percentage of time spent in sedentary behaviour (%SB) were quantified and related to potential predictors using linear regression and path analysis. Results: Children aged 8-10 years were included. Significant differences were seen in all three outcome variables between sexes and season of measurement (p<0.001). Restricting children's access to television was associated with decreased MVPA. Increased paternal age was associated with significant increases in %SB (p = 0.02), but not MVPA or total PA. Increased time spent in out of school sports clubs was significantly associated with decreased %SB (p = 0.02). No significant associations were seen with birth weight. Conclusion: A range of factors, directly or indirectly, influenced PA and sedentary behaviour. However, associations differed between the different constructs of PA and %SB. Exploring further the sex differences in PA would appear to be useful, as would encouraging children to join out of school sports clubs.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Pearce MS, Basterfield L, Mann KD, Parkinson KN, Adamson AJ, Reilly JJ, Gateshead Millennium Study

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: PLoS One

Year: 2012

Volume: 7

Issue: 6

Print publication date: 20/06/2012

Date deposited: 15/08/2012

ISSN (electronic): 1932-6203

Publisher: Public Library of Science


DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0037975


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Funder referenceFunder name
Diabetes United Kingdom
Henry Smith Charity
Research and Development Office for the Northern Ireland Health and Social Services
Sport Aiding Research in Kids (SPARKS)
Welsh Assembly Government
World Cancer Research Fund
British Heart Foundation
Cancer Research United Kingdom
Department of Health
Economic and Social Research Council
Food Standards Agency
Gateshead National Health Service Trust Research & Development (NHS R D)
Medical Research Council
National Prevention Research Initiative
Northern and Yorkshire NHS R D
Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Trust
CZH/4/484Chief Scientist Office, Scottish Government Health Directorates