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Phys Occup Ther Pediatr. 2008;28(1):25-39.

Physical activity of young children: a two-year follow-up.

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  • 1Division of Occupational Therapy, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Queensland, St Lucia, Australia.


Inadequate physical activity in children is a major health concern. The purpose of this study was to examine changes in physical activity of boys and girls, between 6-8 and 8-10 years of age and how activity patterns correlated with selected family, child, and environment factors. The sample included 59 children without motor delays (26 boys and 23 girls) between 8 and 10 years of age. Twenty-two of the children participated in a previous study at 6-8 years of age. Parents completed a questionnaire on their children's non-physical and physical activities. Children wore a pedometer during two weekdays and two weekend days. The results indicate that girls spent more time on homework and reading and on crafts and indoor play than boys. Girls spent more time on musical and cultural activities and boys spent more time on screen-based activities at 8-10 years of age. Children spent significantly less time on physical activity at 8-10 years of age. Boys took more steps per day than girls on weekends. The average number of steps taken per weekday increased for boys, but not girls, at 8-10 years of age. There was an inverse relationship between body mass index and number of steps taken per day (weekdays r = -.28; weekend r = -.32). Socioeconomic status was associated with the number of steps taken by children on weekends (r = .34). The results have implications for physical activities for girls and school and community programs for children.

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