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Accelerometry assessed sedentary behaviour and physical activity levels during the segmented school day in 10-14 year-old children: the HAPPY study

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Sarah CharmanORCiD


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The school day offers several different time periods that provide varying opportunities for sedentary time (SED) and engagement in physical activity (PA), yet little is known about the PA and sedentary behaviour patterns of boys and girls during these times. The volume, intensity and temporal distributions of SED and PA undertaken by 135 schoolchildren aged 10–14 years, during different segments of the school day: (a) school transport, (b) morning recess, (c) lunch break, (d) class time and (e) after school, were explored using triaxial accelerometry. PA was categorised into SED, light PA (LPA), moderate PA (MPA) and vigorous PA (VPA). Girls engaged in significantly more SED and LPA than boys during recess and lunch break (p < 0.05), while boys engaged in significantly higher levels of VPA during recess (p < 0.001) and MPA and VPA during lunch break (p < 0.001). PA engagement was similar between sexes during other segments of the day. Conclusion: PA patterns appear more beneficial for health in boys during less structured school-based time periods and interventions may therefore target opportunities for girls to be physically active during these times to overcome this observed sex deficit.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Bailey DP, Fairclough SJ, Savory LA, Denton SJ, Dong P, Deane CS, Kerr CJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: European Journal of Pediatrics

Year: 2012

Volume: 171

Issue: 12

Pages: 1805-1813

Print publication date: 01/12/2012

ISSN (print): 0340-6199

ISSN (electronic): 1432-1076

Publisher: Springer


DOI: 10.1007/s00431-012-1827-0


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