Research Study Abstract

Physical Activity Guidelines: Compliance in a Sample of Children and Youth With 60 Minutes of Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activities

  • Added on November 8, 2010

Physical inactivity is a well documented risk factor for coronary heart disease and is associated with increased risk for other chronic diseases, including obesity, Type II diabetes mellitus, hypertension, colon cancer, depression, and osteoporosis. Despite evidence on the social, health, and personal benefits of physical activity, many people still choose not to exercise. Accordingly, promoting physical activity has become a public health priority worldwide. Because of the growing awareness of the health benefits of regular physical activity, public health guidelines for physical activity have been established. Several of these guidelines focus on youth.

Purpose The aim of this study was to compare the compliance between boys and girls of 60 minutes of MVPA during almost every days of the week (60MVPA).

Methods A random sample of 210 (12-18 years) boys (n, 80; age, 15.11 ± 1.63; weight, 62.4 ± 14.3; height, 168.6 ±11.1; BMI, 21.7 ± 3.6) and girls (n, 130; age, 14.8 ± 1.8; weight, 53.7 ± 9.5; height, 159.1 ±6.6; BMI, 21.2 ± 3.3) was evaluated from Porto region. Body Mass Index (BMI) was calculated from the children’s height and weight [weight (Kg)/height2 (m)]. The following measurements were carried out: percentage of fat mass, and PA levels [GT1M, MTI Actigraphs]. The activity monitor was used as instrument to objectively measure daily PA. The study was conducted during 7 consecutive days.

Results Our results reveal that there’s a difference in the compliance of 60MVPA between boys and girls, during all days of the week and weekend (p<0.05). When comparing results in the different days of the week, we can observe that in girls the percentage, meeting the guidelines for a day, fluctuate between 19.4% (Saturday) and 70.6% (Friday). When comparing boys we can examine values between 47.7% (Sunday) and 84.6% (Friday). Unfortunately when we analyze all children that accomplish the recommendations of 60MVPA during all days of the week (7 days) only 15% of boys and 7% of girls meet the criteria.

Conclusions The prevalence of children and youth meeting the guidelines of 60MVPA for every days of a week is very small, although when comparing individually the days of the week we can find percentages between 19.4% (girls) and 84,6% (boys) in specific days of the week. There is uncertainty concerning the true prevalence of compliance with physical activity guidelines in Portuguese children.


  • Ribeiro, J.
  • Sousa, M.
  • Sá, C.
  • Santos, P.
  • Silva, P.
  • Aires, L.
  • Mota, J.


  • University of Porto