The place of physical activity in the time budgets of 10- to 13-year-old Australian children

Tim Olds, Carol Maher, Kate Ridley

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    23 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: Low physical activity has been associated with increased fatness and deceased fitness. This observational study aimed to describe the magnitude, composition, and time-distribution of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) in Australian children. Methods: A total of 1132 10 to 13 year old schoolchildren completed a 24-h activity recall diary on 2 to 4 occasions. MVPA was defined as any activity requiring ≥3METs, including sport, play, active transport, chores, and other activities. Results: MVPA was higher in boys than girls (173 vs 140 min/day; P < .0001), higher on nonschool days than school days (166 vs 143 min/day; P < .0001), and decreased with age (9 min/day per year of age). MVPA consisted of structured sport (37%), active transport (26%), unstructured play (24%), and chores/miscellaneous activities (13%). Every hour of MVPA was associated with a reduction in screen time (26.5 min), non-screen-based sedentary pastimes (8 min), and sleep (5.5 min). The least active quartile of children were more likely to be girls (OR = 3.4), have higher screen time, and sleep more. From 4:00-6:30 PM on school days there were large differences in participation between high-active and low-active children. Conclusion: Findings suggest MVPA interventions should target girls, screen time and focus on the after-school period.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)548-557
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal of Physical Activity and Health
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - May 2011


    • Adolescents
    • Screen time
    • Use-of-time


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