Research Study Abstract

Changes in time-segment specific physical activity between ages 10 and 14 years: A longitudinal observational study

  • Published on Jan. 2016

Objectives: Describe (1) time-segment specific changes in physical activity (PA) into adolescence, (2) differences in change in PA between specific time-segments (weekdays–weekends, in-school–out-of-school, out-of-school–weekends, lesson-time–lunch-time), and (3) associations of change in time-segment specific with overall PA.

Design: Longitudinal observational study (4-year follow-up).

Methods: Children from the SPEEDY study (n = 769, 42% boys) had PA measured by accelerometer for at least three days at ages 10.2 ± 0.3, 11.2 ± 0.3 and 14.3 ± 0.3 years. Changes in moderate-to-vigorous PA (ΔMVPA, minutes ≥2000 counts/minute [cpm]) and total PA (ΔTPA, average cpm) during weekdays, weekends, in-school, out-of-school, lesson-times and lunch-times, were tested using three level (age, individual, school) mixed-effects linear regression. Differences in ΔMVPA/ΔTPA between time-segments were tested using time-segment × age interaction terms. Associations of four-year time-segment specific ΔMVPA/ΔTPA with four-year overall ΔMVPA/ΔTPA were tested using two level (time-segment specific ΔMVPA/ΔTPA, school) mixed-effects linear regression.

Results: MVPA and TPA declined in all time-segments, except lesson-time MVPA. Annual ΔMVPA and, for boys only, ΔTPA was greater on weekends than weekdays (beta ± SE for interaction term: boys, −3.53 ± 0.83 min, −29.64 ± 7.64 cpm; girls, −2.20 ± 0.64 min) and out-of-school (boys, −4.36 ± 0.79 min, −19.36 ± 8.46 cpm; girls, −2.44 ± 0.63 min). ΔMVPA and ΔTPA during lunch-time was greater than during lesson-time (boys, −0.96 ± 0.20 min, −36.43 ± 6.55 cpm; girls, −0.90 ± 0.13 min, −38.72 ± 4.40 cpm). ΔTPA was greater out-of-school than in-school (boys, −19.89 ± 6.71 cpm; girls, −18.46 ± 6.51 cpm). For all time-segments, four-year ΔMVPA/ΔTPA was positively associated with four-year overall ΔMVPA/ΔTPA (all p < 0.042), except for girl’s in-school and lunch-time TPA.

Conclusions: Interventions focused on PA maintenance could target all time-segments, but weekends and out-of-school may be particularly advantageous due to the relatively large declines observed.


  • Hannah L. Brooke 1
  • Andrew J. Atkin 1
  • Kirsten Corder 1
  • Ulf Ekelund 1,2
  • Esther M.F. van Sluijs 1


  • 1

    MRC Epidemiology Unit and UKCRC Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR), University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Cambridge, UK

  • 2

    Department of Sports Medicine, Norwegian School of Sports Sciences, Oslo, Norway


Journal of Science & Medicine in Sports


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