Research Study Abstract

Gender and School Type Differences in Objectively Measured Physical Activity in Early Adolescent Youth

  • Presented on 23 October 2012

Aim The purpose of this study was to describe objectively measured physical activity (PA) levels in a rural Irish population based sample of students aged 12-14 years of age 1) during weekday and weekend time periods and 2) specific to the weight status of participants.

Methods One hundred and seventy four students in year one of post-primary education (mean age: 12.83 ± 0.39, 62.1% male, 25.4% overweight/obese) from two mixed gender schools in rural Ireland wore Actigraph GT1M and GT3X accelerometers for seven consecutive days. Activity count values of <0 and ≥15000 counts per minute were excluded during analysis as these values are deemed biologically implausible (Esliger et al., 2005). To gain a meaningful insight into the habitual PA behaviour of early adolescent youth, accelerometers were worn by participants for a minimum of three weekdays, one weekend day and at least ten hours recorded wear time per day (Sirard & Slater, 2009). Stored activity counts were uploaded to a customized Actilife data reduction programme to determine minutes of sedentary, light, moderate, vigorous and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Evenson cut points were used during data analysis as these are the most recently validated cut points for youth PA (Trost, 2011).

Results A two-way between-groups analysis of variance was conducted to explore the impact of gender and school type on daily MVPA and there was a statistically significant main effect for gender (p < 0.01) (Figure 1). Conclusions: Based on the stringent inclusion criteria and accelerometer protocol enacted for this study, our results support the notion that boys accumulated more minutes of daily MVPA and hence were deemed significantly more active than females.

References [1] Esliger, D.; Copeland, J.L.; Barnes, J.D.; Tremblay, M.S. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 2005, 3, 366. [2] Sirard, J.R.; Slater, M.E. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 2009, 6(Suppl 1), S148. [3] Trost, S.G.; Loprinzi, P.D.; Moore, R.; Pfeiffer, K.A. Medicine & Science In Sports & Exercise, 2011, 43, 1360.

Presented at

7th European Youth Hearty Study Scientific Symposium


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