A prospective examination of children's time spent outdoors, objectively measured physical activity and overweight

Cleland, V., Crawford, D., Baur, L. A., Hume, C., Timperio, A. and Salmon, J. 2008, A prospective examination of children's time spent outdoors, objectively measured physical activity and overweight, International journal of obesity, vol. 32, no. 11, pp. 1685-1693.


Title A prospective examination of children's time spent outdoors, objectively measured physical activity and overweight
Author(s) Cleland, V.
Crawford, D.
Baur, L. A.
Hume, C.
Timperio, A.
Salmon, J.
Journal name International journal of obesity
Volume number 32
Issue number 11
Start page 1685
End page 1693
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Place of publication Basingstoke, England
Publication date 2008-11
ISSN 0307-0565
1476-5497
Keyword(s) youth
physical activity
overweight
longitudinal
accelerometer
Summary Objective: This study aimed to determine whether time spent outdoors was associated with objectively measured physical activity, body mass index (BMI) z-score and overweight in elementary-school aged children, cross-sectionally and prospectively over 3 years.
Methods: Three-year cohort study with data collected during 2001 and 2004. Nineteen randomly selected state elementary schools across Melbourne, Australia. One hundred and eighty eight 5–6-year-old and 360 10–12-year-old children. Baseline parent reports of children’s time spent outdoors during warmer and cooler months, on weekdays and weekends. At baseline and follow-up, children’s moderate and vigorous physical activity (MVPA) was objectively assessed by accelerometry, and BMI zscore and overweight was calculated from measured height and weight.
Results: Cross-sectionally, each additional hour outdoors on weekdays and weekend days during the cooler months was associated with an extra 27 min week-1 MVPA among older girls, and with an extra 20 min week-1 MVPA among older boys. Longitudinally, more time outdoors on weekends predicted higher MVPA on weekends among older girls and boys (5 min week-1). The prevalence of overweight among older children at follow-up was 27–41% lower among those spending more time outdoors at baseline.
Conclusion: Encouraging 10–12-year-old children to spend more time outdoors may be an effective strategy for increasing physical activity and preventing increases in overweight and obesity. Intervention research investigating the effect of increasing time outdoors on children’s physical activity and overweight is warranted.
Notes Published online 14 October 2008
Language eng
Field of Research 111706 Epidemiology
Socio Economic Objective 920205 Health Education and Promotion
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
HERDC collection year 2008
Copyright notice ©2008, Macmillan Publishers Limited
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30017742

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