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Socioecological and biological associations of lower levels of physical activity in 8-year-old children: a 2-year prospective study
  1. Amanda Lahti1,
  2. Björn E Rosengren2,
  3. Magnus Dencker3,
  4. Jan-Åke Nilsson2,
  5. Magnus K Karlsson4
  1. 1Clinical and Molecular Osteoporosis Research Unit, Departments of Clinical Sciences and Orthopedic Surgery, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden
  2. 2Department of Orthopaedics and Clinical Sciences, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden
  3. 3Department of Clinical Physiology, Skåne University Hospital, Malmö, Sweden
  4. 4Clinical and Molecular Osteoporosis Research Unit, Departments of Clinical Sciences and Orthopedic Surgery, Malmö, Sweden
  1. Correspondence to Dr Amanda Lahti; amanda.lahti{at}


Objectives Evaluate if socioecological and biological factors, at the age of 8 years, are associated with lower level of physical activity (PA) 2 years later.

Method In a study cohort of 199 children aged 7.8±0.6 years, we used questionnaires and physical measurements to evaluate biological (eg, sex), social (eg, parental PA) and environmental (eg, school settings) factors. Objective PA was measured 2 years later with accelerometers. General PA (GPA) was defined as mean counts per minute (cpm) and moderate to vigorous PA (MVPA) as min/day >3500 cpm. We used analysis of covariance to evaluate if socioecological factors at age 8 are associated with level of PA 2 years later.

Results Daily GPA was 690.5±216.6 cpm and the children spent 40.9±18.3 min on MVPA. Female sex is associated with −131.1 (−183.4, –78.7) cpm GPA, each 10 cm shorter body height with −48.7 (−94.8, –26.5), each unit higher body mass index (BMI) with −26.0 (−37.5, –14.5) and allocation to 60 min school PA/week with −73.8 (−131.5, –16.2) compared with allocation to 200 min school PA/week. Female sex is associated with −10.3 (−14.8, –5.7) min of MVPA and each unit higher BMI with −1.9 (−2.9, –0.9) min.

Conclusion Female sex, shorter body height and higher BMI are at age 8 years associated with lower level of PA 2 years later. It appears possible to increase PA by daily school PA.

Trial registration number NCT00633828.

  • children's health and exercise
  • sedentary
  • physical activity promotion in primary care
  • physical activity
  • children

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  • Contributors AL is the corresponding author of the study; provided extensive work on cleaning, analysing and interpreting the data; drafted and revised the paper. BER contributed to interpretation of data for the work and revised it critically and provided important intellectual content; provided final approval of the version to be published. JAN provided substantial contributions to the statistical design and analysis and revised the work and provided valuable, intellectual, important content; provided final approval of the version to be published. MD collected accelerometer data and contributed to the work by providing interpretation to the work and revising it for the final approval. MKK was responsible for collection of data and substantial contributions to the analysis and interpretation of the data of the work and revising the draft several times. All authors have given an agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

  • Funding Financial support was received from the Swedish Research Council for Sport Science.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.

  • Ethics approval The study was approved by the Ethics Committee of Lund University, Sweden (LU 453-98; 1998-09-15), registered as clinical trial ( and conducted according to the Declaration of Helsinki. Written consent was obtained from the parents of all participating children.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information.

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