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Daylight saving time as a potential public health intervention: an observational study of evening daylight and objectively-measured physical activity among 23,000 children from 9 countries

Goodman, Anna, Page, Angie S., Cooper, Ashley R., Timperio, Anna and International Children’s Accelerometry Database (ICAD) Collaborators, 2014, Daylight saving time as a potential public health intervention: an observational study of evening daylight and objectively-measured physical activity among 23,000 children from 9 countries, International journal of behavioral nutrition and physical activity, vol. 11, pp. 184-9, doi: 10.1186/1479-5868-11-84.

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Title Daylight saving time as a potential public health intervention: an observational study of evening daylight and objectively-measured physical activity among 23,000 children from 9 countries
Author(s) Goodman, Anna
Page, Angie S.
Cooper, Ashley R.
Timperio, AnnaORCID iD for Timperio, Anna orcid.org/0000-0002-8773-5012
International Children’s Accelerometry Database (ICAD) Collaborators,
Journal name International journal of behavioral nutrition and physical activity
Volume number 11
Article ID 84
Start page 184
End page 9
Total pages 9
Publisher BioMed Central
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2014-10-23
ISSN 1479-5868
Keyword(s) accelerometry
activities of daily living
adolescent
body weight
child
child, preschool
cross-sectional studies
female
humans
male
motor activity
photoperiod
play and playthings
public health
socioeconomic factors
seasons
physical activity
day length
International Children’s Accelerometry Database (ICAD) Collaborators
Summary BACKGROUND: It has been proposed that introducing daylight saving measures could increase children's physical activity, but there exists little research on this issue. This study therefore examined associations between time of sunset and activity levels, including using the bi-annual 'changing of the clocks' as a natural experiment. METHODS: 23,188 children aged 5-16 years from 15 studies in nine countries were brought together in the International Children's Accelerometry Database. 439 of these children were of particular interest for our analyses as they contributed data both immediately before and after the clocks changed. All children provided objectively-measured physical activity data from Actigraph accelerometers, and we used their average physical activity level (accelerometer counts per minute) as our primary outcome. Date of accelerometer data collection was matched to time of sunset, and to weather characteristics including daily precipitation, humidity, wind speed and temperature. RESULTS: Adjusting for child and weather covariates, we found that longer evening daylight was independently associated with a small increase in daily physical activity. Consistent with a causal interpretation, the magnitude of these associations was largest in the late afternoon and early evening and these associations were also evident when comparing the same child just before and just after the clocks changed. These associations were, however, only consistently observed in the five mainland European, four English and two Australian samples (adjusted, pooled effect sizes 0.03-0.07 standard deviations per hour of additional evening daylight). In some settings there was some evidence of larger associations between daylength and physical activity in boys. There was no evidence of interactions with weight status or maternal education, and inconsistent findings for interactions with age. CONCLUSIONS: In Europe and Australia, evening daylight seems to play a causal role in increasing children's activity in a relatively equitable manner. Although the average increase in activity is small in absolute terms, these increases apply across all children in a population. Moreover, these small effect sizes actually compare relatively favourably with the typical effect of intensive, individual-level interventions. We therefore conclude that, by shifting the physical activity mean of the entire population, the introduction of additional daylight saving measures could yield worthwhile public health benefits.
Language eng
DOI 10.1186/1479-5868-11-84
Field of Research 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified
11 Medical And Health Sciences
13 Education
Socio Economic Objective 970111 Expanding Knowledge in the Medical and Health Sciences
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2014, The Authors
Free to Read? Yes
Use Rights Creative Commons Attribution licence
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30089549

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.