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Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2009 Feb;19(1):10-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.2007.00762.x. Epub 2008 Feb 1.

Between- and within-day variability in physical activity and inactivity in 9- and 15-year-old European children.

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  • 1School of Health and Medical Sciences, Orebro University, Orebro, Sweden.


To examine differences in levels of physical activity (PA), time spent at moderate-to-vigorous intensity PA (MVPA) and time spent sedentary between and within days in children from four European countries, 1954 9 - and 15-year-olds were included. PA was measured during 2 weekdays and 2 weekend days using the manufacturing technology-incorporated (MTI) accelerometer. Average count per minute, time spent sedentary, time spent at MVPA and the proportion of children accumulating > or =60 min of MVPA were calculated. Data were compared between weekdays and weekend days and between school time and leisure-time. Although not entirely consistent across countries, overall PA, time spent sedentary and the proportion of children accumulating > or =60 min of MVPA were higher during weekdays compared with weekend days. Differences in overall PA between school time and leisure-time were highly inconsistent between countries. Few children (4-31%) accumulated > or =60 min of MVPA either during school time or during leisure-time. Differences in activity patterns between weekdays and weekend days are explained by less accumulated time in MVPA during weekend days. Weekend days and leisure-time during weekdays seem appropriate targets when promoting PA in order to increase the proportion of children achieving current recommendations on health-enhancing PA.

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