Socioecological and biological associations of lower levels of physical activity in 8-year-old children: A 2-year prospective study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objectives: Evaluate if socioecological and biological factors, at the age of 8 years, are associated with lower level of physical activity (PA) 2 years later. 

Method: In a study cohort of 199 children aged 7.8±0.6 years, we used questionnaires and physical measurements to evaluate biological (eg, sex), social (eg, parental PA) and environmental (eg, school settings) factors. Objective PA was measured 2 years later with accelerometers. General PA (GPA) was defined as mean counts per minute (cpm) and moderate to vigorous PA (MVPA) as min/day >3500 cpm. We used analysis of covariance to evaluate if socioecological factors at age 8 are associated with level of PA 2 years later. 

Results: Daily GPA was 690.5±216.6 cpm and the children spent 40.9±18.3 min on MVPA. Female sex is associated with-131.1 (-183.4,-78.7) cpm GPA, each 10 cm shorter body height with-48.7 (-94.8,-26.5), each unit higher body mass index (BMI) with-26.0 (-37.5,-14.5) and allocation to 60 min school PA/week with-73.8 (-131.5,-16.2) compared with allocation to 200 min school PA/week. Female sex is associated with-10.3 (-14.8,-5.7) min of MVPA and each unit higher BMI with-1.9 (-2.9,-0.9) min. 

Conclusion: Female sex, shorter body height and higher BMI are at age 8 years associated with lower level of PA 2 years later. It appears possible to increase PA by daily school PA. 


External organisations
  • Skåne University Hospital
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Pediatrics
  • Sport and Fitness Sciences


  • children, children's health and exercise, physical activity, physical activity promotion in primary care, sedentary
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere000597
JournalBMJ Open Sport and Exercise Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Nov 1
Publication categoryResearch