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Adolescent Patterns of Physical Activity: Differences by Gender, Day, and Time of Day

Study that investigated the presence of any differences in activity levels that may be related to gender, day, time of day and body mass index (BMI).

Jago, R.; Anderson, C. B.; Baranowski, T. & Watson, K.  Children’s Nutrition Research Center, Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine. (2005).

Study using objective measures in order to establish differences in physical activity levels in relation to day, time of day and gender for American adolescents. 

Method:  100 8th graders participate din the study (male=47, female= 53), only 81 participants responses are reported.  Measures included height, weight, basic demographics and physical activity (using an accelerometer and a self-report physical activity recall diary).  BMI scores were also calculated. 

Findings:  In general boys were more physically active and less sedentary than females; the study highlights specific times were this discrepancy was substantial. Females did not meet any physical recommendation guidelines on any day.  The use of self-report diaries provided qualitative data on these differences, both genders spent a large amount of time sitting down.  There was little effect of physical activity on BMI, this suggests that large numbers of adolescent have a sedentary lifestyle, regardless of their weight.  There is an indication that gender differences may be explained by the increased amount of time boys spend playing sport, whilst girls use his time on personal care. 

Implications:  Effort is required to decrease the amount of time spent sitting, such as taking part in active transport.  Opportunities for sport also must be increased.  Marked gender differences in the late afternoon imply that this time should be targeted by interventions. 

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American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2005, 28 (5), 447-552

Further Contact Details

Russell Jago, Department of Exercise and Health Sciences, Centre for Sport, Exercise and Health, University of Bristol. E-mail: russ.jago@gmail.com

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