Research Study Abstract

Tracking Of Physical Activity And Sedentary Behavior In Toddlers (12-36 Months)

  • Presented on May 29, 2014

Background: It would be valuable if at risk groups with low physical activity could be identified early and offered targeted intervention. While there is an abundance of studies tracking the physical activity and sedentary behavior in children over the age of 4 years there is a of paucity data concerning the behavior of toddlers.

Purpose: The aim of the present study was to examine the tracking characteristics of light activity (LPA) moderate to vigorous activity (MVPA) and sedentary behavior (SB) in a sample of very young children over a one-year period.

Methods: The tracking of LPA, MVPA and SB was examined at baseline then 12 months later. Study participants included 24 toddlers (14 males and 10 females) with a baseline mean age of 19.83 ± 5.84 months. TPA, LPA, MVPA and SB were measured objectively for 7 consecutive days annually using the ActiGraph GT1M accelerometer. Time spent in MVPA and sedentary behavior was established using our previously published age specific cut-offs. In keeping with recent research in this area, tracking of LPA, MVPA and sedentary behavior were analyzed in three ways: Spearman Rank correlations, percentage agreements and finally KAPPA statistics.

Results: There were positive and significant Spearman rank correlations for MVPA (rs=0.63, p=0.02) and for SB (rs=0.62, p=0.02). Percentage agreement for LPA, MVPA and SB were 2.1%, 4.2% and 7.7% respectively. KAPPA statistics for LPA, MVPA and SB were poor (KAPPA <0.2).

Conclusions: These results indicate low levels of tracking of LPA, MVPA and sedentary behavior in toddlers over a one-year period. These data raise the possibility that interventions targeted at very young children to promote and increase physical activity and more importantly decrease sedentary behaviour may change tracking trajectories. The findings of the present study may carry important implications for policy and practice in the fields of public health. Further research in this area is clearly warranted.

This study was funded by the Swenson Summer Research Fellowship

Presented at

ACSM 2014 Annual Meeting