Correlates of Physical Activity among Young Children with Moderate Acute Malnutrition

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To assess the levels of physical activity among young children with moderate acute malnutrition and to identify clinical, biochemical, anthropometric, and sociodemographic correlates of physical activity.

Study design

In a cross-sectional study, 1609 children aged 6-23 months wore a triaxial accelerometer (ActiGraph GT3x+; ActiGraph, Pensacola, Florida) for 6 consecutive days, from which total physical activity were determined. Data on morbidity were collected based by history and physical examination, and serum C-reactive protein and α1-acid glycoprotein were measured.


A total of 1544 (96%) children had physical activity measured, of whom 1498 (97%) completed 6 consecutive days of physical activity recording with a daily median wear time of 24 hours. The mean (±SD) total physical activity was 707 (±180) vector magnitude counts per minute (cpm). Age was negatively correlated with physical activity; compared with children below 12 months of age, those 12-17 months of age, and 18-23 months of age had 51 (95% CI, 26; 75) and 106 (95% CI, 71; 141) cpm lower physical activity, respectively. Fever and malaria were associated with 49 (95% CI, 27; 70) and 44 (95% CI, 27; 61) cpm lower activity, respectively. Elevated serum C-reactive protein and α1-acid glycoprotein were both negative correlates of physical activity, and hemoglobin was a positive correlate.


Physical activity declines with age in children with moderate acute malnutrition and is also inversely related to infection and inflammatory status. Future studies are needed to ascertain cause and effect of these associations.

Trial registration ISRCTN42569496.

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