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Nurs Res. 1997 Sep-Oct;46(5):246-53.

Leisure time activities of elementary school children.

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School of Nursing, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 27599-7460, USA.


The three most common leisure time activities of 2,200 third and fourth grade children (mean age 8.8 + 0.8; 50.7% girls) and the association of the intensity levels of those activities with demographic variables and risk factors for cardiovascular disease are reported. Activities reported most often by boys were playing video games (33%), playing football (32%), bicycling (31%), watching television (28%), and playing basketball (26%). The girls reported doing homework (39%), bicycling (31%), watching television (30%), dancing (27%), and reading (23%). Overall, the children, especially girls, reported fairly sedentary activities, with an average metabolic equivalent level of 4.2 for girls and 4.8 for boys. Among boys, African Americans reported more vigorous activities than Whites, but the activities reported by White girls were somewhat more vigorous than those reported by non-White girls. Children from a higher socioeconomic status (SES), especially boys, reported a greater proportion of sedentary activities than lower SES children. The risk factors of cholesterol, blood pressure, skinfold thickness, and body mass index were not significantly associated with total activity score. However, significantly more nonobese than obese children reported a vigorous (high-intensity) activity as one of their top three activities.

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