Research Study Abstract

Physical Activity Patterns of Inner-city Elementary School Children

  • Added on October 10, 2012

Purpose To objectively measure the physical activity (PA) characteristics of a racially and ethnically diverse sample of inner-city elementary school children; and examine the influence of gender, race/ethnicity, grade level, and weight status on PA.

Methods 470 students in grades 4-6 from six inner-city schools in Philadelphia wore an ActiGraph GT3X+ accelerometer for up to 7 days. The resultant data were uploaded to a customized Visual Basic EXCEL macro for determination of time spent in sedentary (SED), light (LPA), and moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA).

Results On average, students accumulated 48 minutes of MVPA daily. Expressed as a percentage of monitoring time, students were sedentary for 63% of the time, in LPA 31% of the time, and MVPA 6% of the time. Across all race/ethnicity and grade level groups, boys exhibited significantly higher levels of MVPA than girls; 5th grade boys exhibited significantly lower MVPA levels than 4th and 6th grade boys, and 6th grade girls exhibited significantly lower MVPA levels than 4th and 5th grade girls. Hispanic children exhibited lower levels of MVPA than children from other racial/ethnic groups; and overweight and obese children exhibited significantly lower MVPA levels than children in the healthy weight range. Across the entire sample, only 24.3% met the current public health guidelines for physical activity. Physical inactivity was significantly greater among females, Hispanics, and overweight and obese students.

Conclusions Fewer than one in four inner city school children accumulated the recommended 60 minutes of MVPA daily. These findings highlight the need for effective and sustainable programs to promote PA in inner city youth.

Link to Abstract:


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise