Sports Contribute to Total Moderate-to-Vigorous Physical Activity in School Children

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IntroductionA third of all children spend at least 60 minutes per day in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). We investigated the distribution of objectively measured physical activity (PA) intensities achieved by school children during physical education (PE) and organized youth sports (OYS) and the contribution of PE and OYS to the achievement of the PA recommendations.MethodsIn two surveys, PA of 396 children was measured using accelerometry during typical school weeks. Proportions (%) of sedentary behavior (SB), light PA (LPA) and MVPA per day and particularly during sports were assessed in children aged 6-17 years. Adjusted odds ratios (AOR) were calculated to analyze the association between frequency (days/week) and duration (minutes/week) of PE and OYS and meeting the PA recommendations.ResultsAverage proportions of MVPA during PE and OYS ranged between 15-31%. Between 68-74% of children (6-10 years) and 27-37% of adolescents (11-17 years) met the PA recommendations. In both age groups, PE and OYS on at least two days per week were both significantly associated with meeting the PA recommendations (AOR for PE: 3.60, 95%CI: 2.05 - 6.31; AOR for OYS: 3.83, 95%CI: 2.09 - 6.99), compared to no PE or no OYS in that week. Likewise, significant AOR were found for >90 minutes of PE per week (AOR: 3.48, 95%CI: 2.03 - 5.98) and >120 minutes OYS per week (AOR: 3.72, 95%CI: 2.01 - 6.89), compared to no PE or no OYS in that week, respectively.ConclusionSchool children spent less than one third of PE and OYS in MVPA. PE and OYS were found to support children and adolescents to engage sufficiently in MVPA as recommended by the WHO.This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License 4.0 (CCBY-NC-ND), where it is permissible to download and share the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially without permission from the journal.

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