Research Study Abstract

Patterns of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) among middle-school students by gender and ethnicity

  • Presented on May 21, 2014

Purpose: Knowledge of youth physical activity (PA) patterns throughout the week is helpful to plan effective PA interventions. The purpose of this study was to determine time spent in moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA) across a typical academic week, with specific attention to activity on weekends, weekdays, outside of school, in school (PE, lunchtime, and nonlunch/ PE time), and differences by gender and ethnicity.

Methods: Non-athlete sixth grade students (N=109; age=11.06[0.44]; BMI%ile=66.79[31.04]; 50% male; 50% Latino, 14% African American, 17% non-Hispanic White). Actigraph accelerometers (≥3 valid week days, ≥1 valid weekend day; Romanzini (2012) cutpoints; triaxial; 15 sec epochs) were used to determine time in MVPA.

Results: Average MVPA was greater on weekdays compared to weekend days (84 vs. 72 min, p<0.001). Of weekday MVPA, a greater quantity was accrued outside of school compared to during school (48 vs. 36 min, p<0.001). Lunchtime and PE provided 17% and 37% of total school MVPA. Girls engaged in fewer minutes of MVPA compared to boys across all segments of the day (ps<0.005) except for non-lunch/PE time. African Americans engaged in greater MVPA compared to other ethnicities, particularly on weekends (p<0.005).

Conclusions: Regardless of gender and ethnicity, participants obtained recommended levels of MVPA (>60 min per day), suggesting that maintenance should be the focus of PA interventions in sixth grade students. This study supports the well-characterized gender and ethnic disparity in MVPA. Future research should identify sources of weekday MVPA not accounted for by PE and lunchtime, since these amounts were substantial.

Presented at

ISBNPA 2014 Annual Conference