Correlates of Physical Activity among a Sample of Overweight and Obese Children
The aim of this study was to identify potential correlates of objectively measured physical activity among a sample of overweight and obese children. Subjects were 165 5-9 year old children (mean age = 8.2 + 1.1; mean BMI-z = 2.81 + 0.71) from two regional cities in NSW, recruited for the Hunter and Illawarra Kids Challenge Using Parent Support (HIKCUPS) study*. Physical activity was measured using Actigraph accelerometers worn for eight consecutive days and values were calculated for: daily moderate intensity physical activity (MPA); daily vigorous intensity physical activity (VPA) and daily moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity (MVPA). Correlates examined included: age; BMI-z; parental BMI (mother & father); perceived competence (social, scholastic, athletic); health related quality of life (child & parent proxy); and fundamental motor skill proficiency (locomotor & object control). Analyses were conducted separately for boys (n = 68) and girls (n = 97). Bivarate correlations were examined to determine the relationship between potential correlates and MVPA, MPA and VPA. Age (r = -.73, p <.001), fathers BMI (r = -.57, p <.01), locomotor skills (r = .29, p <.05) and object control skills (r = .54, p <.001) were significantly correlated with MVPA for boys. Age (r = -.58, p <.001), locomotor skills (r = .36, p <.001) and object control skills (r = .26, p <.05) were significantly related for girls. Similar relationships were established for MPA and VPA. Regression analysis revealed that age and object control skills were significant predictors of MVPA for boys (Adj. R2=0.55). Age was the only significant predictor for girls (Adj. R2=0.33). An improved understanding of the factors associated with physical activity may assist in the design of appropriate interventions to promote physical activity. The findings of this study have demonstrated that the targeting of fundamental motor skills may be a promising strategy to increase physical activity among overweight and obese children. * HIKCUPS is funded by the NHMRC (354101).
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