Ambulatory physical activity levels of white and South Asian children in Central England

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Abstract

Aims:

To assess ambulatory physical activity in white and south Asian children from Central England and to examine variation in activity between weekdays and weekends.

Methods:

536 primary school children [255 boys and 281 girls, mean age (SD) = 9.6 (1.0) years] wore a sealed pedometer for 4 days (2 weekend and 2 weekdays). Repeated measures analysis of covariance was used to examine weekend versus weekday, gender, ethnic and socio-economic status differences in steps/day controlling for age, hours of daylight and body mass index (BMI).

Results:

Children attained significantly higher mean steps/day during weekdays than weekends (p = 0.001) with age being more strongly associated with weekend than weekday steps/day (p = 0.014). The decline in steps/day from weekdays to weekends was greater in high compared to low socio-economic status children (p = 0.002). White children attained higher mean steps/day than south Asian children (p = 0.015). BMI was negatively associated with steps/day (p = 0.004). 39.2 and 29.9% of white and south Asian children met the BMI-referenced cut-offs for health.

Conclusion:

Physical activity was greater during weekdays compared to weekends, was associated with BMI, age and socio-economic status and white children were more active than south Asian children.

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