Cross-sectional and longitudinal associations of active travel, organised sport and physical education with accelerometer-assessed moderate-to-vigorous physical activity in young people: the International Children's Accelerometry Database.
The international journal of behavioral nutrition and physical activity 2021 ; 19: 41.
Ikeda E, Guagliano JM, Atkin AJ, Sherar LB, Ekelund U, Hansen B, Northstone K, van Sluijs E, and International Childrens Accelerometry Database (ICAD) Collaborators
PubMed ID : 35366914
Physical activity (PA) declines during childhood. Important sources of PA are active travel, organised sport and physical education (PE), but it is unclear how these domain-specific PA sources contribute to (changes in) daily moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA) in young people. This study aimed to examine (1) the cross-sectional association between domain-specific physical activity (i.e., active travel, organised sport and PE) and daily minutes in accelerometer-assessed MVPA; and (2) the longitudinal association between domain-specific physical activity at baseline and change in daily minutes in MVPA.
Participants (baseline age 11.3 ± .1.2 years) were drawn from three studies in the International Children's Accelerometry Database. The contribution of self-reported standardised active travel, organised sport and PE to accelerometer-measured daily minutes in MVPA was examined using linear regression. In cross-sectional analyses, MVPA was regressed on each PA domain in separate models, adjusted for study, age, sex, maternal education, season, and monitor wear time. In longitudinal analyses, change in MVPA was regressed on each of the baseline PA domains, additionally adjusting for changes in season and wear time, follow-up duration, and baseline MVPA. R-squared was used to compare variance explained by each PA domain.
In the cross-sectional analyses (n = 3871), organised sport (standardised β = 3.81, 95% confidence interval [95%CI] = 3.06, 4.56) and active travel (β = 3.46, 95%CI = 2.73, 4.19) contributed more to daily MVPA than PE (β = 0.82, 95%CI = -0.02, 1.66). Compared to the base model which included only covariates (R = 21.5%), organised sport (absolute change: + 1.9%) and active travel (+ 1.7%) models explained more of the variance than the PE model (± < 0.1%). Associations followed a similar pattern in the longitudinal analyses (n = 2302), but none of the PA domains predicted change in MVPA (organised sport: standardised β = 0.85, 95%CI = -0.03, 1.72; active travel: β = 0.68, 95%CI = -0.14, 1.50; PE: β = 0.02, 95%CI = -0.87, 0.91).
A multi-sectoral approach covering a wide range of PA domains should be promoted to minimise the age-related decline in MVPA during childhood.
More than 66% of young people across the globe are insufficiently active. Active travel (e.g., walking and cycling to school), organised sport (e.g., swimming or playing football at a club), and physical education (PE) are important sources of physical activity for young people. However, we know little about which of these sources of physical activity are most important for overall physical activity in the short and long term. In this study, we studied how active travel, organised sport and PE contribute to overall physical activity in school-aged children and adolescents. We used data from 3,871 children and adolescents from Australia and the UK in the International Children’s Accelerometry Database which is a group of international studies with similar data. Children, parents or teachers reported how the children and adolescents travelled to school, how often they took part in organised sport, and how many hours of PE they had each week. The children and adolescents wore monitors up to a week to measure their physical activity. We found that organised sport and active travel contributed more to overall physical activity than PE. However, none of the activity sources predicted change in overall physical activity over time. The findings support a need for a multi-sectoral approach where sports, transport, urban design, and public and private organisations work together to give all young people access to safe, equitable and varied opportunities to be active.