Research Study Abstract

Physical activity levels across the early primary years

  • Presented on May 21, 2014

Purpose: To examine physical activity levels in kindergarten and grade 2 in cross-sectional cohorts and a longitudinal sample.

Methods: Ninety-six kindergarten children (Mage=5y 7m, 58% boys) from 8 British Columbia schools participated in 2010-11, and 101 grade 2 children (Mage=7y 9m, 52%, boys) participated in 2012-2013. A sub-cohort of 21 children were tracked from kindergarten to grade 2. Physical activity (PA) was assessed for 7 days in kindergarten and grade 2 using Actigraph GT1M accelerometers.

Results: Comparing the kindergarten and grade 2 cohorts using independent t-tests, PA levels (Light PA and MVPA) were significantly lower in grade 2 and sedentary behaviour was significantly higher, specifically: Light PA = 220 and 186 min/day, MVPA = 134 and 100 min/day, and sedentary behaviour = 367 and 439 min/day. Repeated measures ANOVA revealed a similar pattern for the tracking sample. On average, children participated in 31 fewer min/day of Light PA, 42 fewer min/day of MVPA, and 68 more min/day of sedentary behaviour in grade 2. All differences were significant at p<.001. Tracking correlation coefficients (ICCs) over the two years were: .59, .30, and .77 for total PA, MVPA, and sedentary behaviour, respectively.

Conclusions: Both the cross-sectional cohorts and the longitudinal cohort revealed that in grade 2 PA levels were lower by approximately 60 min/day, with a concomitant increase in sedentary behavior. A greater understanding of the determinants of this concerning trend, as well as investigation of approaches to help children maintain higher PA levels across these early primary years, are needed.

Presented at

ISBNPA 2014 Annual Conference