Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study finds children's activity levels not influenced by more PE time in school

11.05.2009
Amsterdam, the Netherlands: Scheduling more physical education time in schools does not mean children will increase their activity levels, suggests new research that discovered those who got lots of timetabled exercise at school compensated by doing less at home while those who got little at school made up for it by being more active at home.

The scientists, who presented their research Thursday at the European Congress on Obesity, found that the total weekly physical activity among children attending different schools was much the same despite large differences in the amount of time allocated to PE.

The researchers propose it's not the environment that drives physical activity levels in children, but some form of central control in the brain similar to appetite – an 'activitystat'.

"These findings have implications for anti-obesity policies because they challenge the assumption that creating more opportunity for children to be active – by providing more playgrounds, sports facilities and more physical education time in schools – will mean more physical activity," said the study's analyst, Alissa Frémeaux, a biostatistician at Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry in Plymouth, UK. "If health strategists want to alter the physical activity of children, it is important that they first understand what controls it."

The researchers studied 206 children from three primary schools (age 7 years) with widely different amounts of timetabled physical education. Children attending one school got on average 9.2 hours a week of scheduled PE, while those at the second school got 2.4 hours a week and those at the third got just 1.7 hours in a week.

The study is the first to track the school activity patterns of children repeatedly over a long period of time using accelerometers, gadgets that record clock time and duration as well as intensity of activity. The children wore the accelerometer – the gold standard for measuring physical activity in large population studies - all day, every day for 7 days during each of four consecutive school terms. The researchers analysed the intensity and amount of in-school physical activity, out-of-school activity and the amount of total weekly physical activity. Body measurements for body composition and blood samples for metabolic health were also taken for each child. The results were adjusted for age, gender, daylight hours and rainfall.

The researchers found that although the children attending the high-PE school did 40% more activity during school hours than the other children, their total weekly activity was no different from the others.

"There was, of course, a range in the amount of activity the children did at each school, but the range and it's average were the same regardless of what school they went to. We discovered that the children who got a lot of PE time at school were compensating by doing less at home, while those who got very little PE time compensated by cranking up their activity at home, so that over the week, they all accumulated the same amount," Frémeaux said. "We believe the range of activity among children, from the slothful to the hyperactive, reflects not the range in environmental opportunities, but the range of individual activity set-points in the brains of children."

Frémeaux pointed out that rodent experiments, as well as other observations in children and adults such as the same physical activity level in people from different geographical regions and between weekend and weekdays, lend support to the activitystat theory.

Frémeaux concluded: "There is plenty of evidence that the opportunities for children to be active have changed over recent years, but we cannot find the evidence that more opportunity means more activity."

Reference no: T1:PO.76, poster presentation, Hall 3, 0800 hrs CET Thursday – 14.30 hrs CET Saturday.

Emma Ross | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.easo.org

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg

nachricht Urbanization to convert 300,000 km2 of prime croplands
27.12.2016 | Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) gGmbH

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A big nano boost for solar cells

18.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Glass's off-kilter harmonies

18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Toward a 'smart' patch that automatically delivers insulin when needed

18.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>