Independent mobility in relation to weekday and weekend physical activity in children aged 10-11 years: The PEACH Project
Children’s independent mobility is significantly related to their weekday physical activity levels
Children’s ability to use their neighborhood unaccompanied by an adult is referred to as their independent mobility. Page and colleagues examined whether children’s independent mobility is related to their physical activity. To investigate this relationship, researchers had over 1300 ten- to eleven-year-old children from 23 primary schools in the United Kingdom complete a questionnaire about their neighborhood activities and wear an accelerometer for one week to measure their physical activity. In analyzing the study data, Page and colleagues identified two types of independent mobility: 1) local independent mobility, which included places close to children’s homes and 2) area independent mobility, which included places further from children’s homes. With regard to gender, independent mobility, and physical activity, researchers found that boys had significantly greater levels of local and area independent mobility and weekday and weekend physical activity compared to girls, whereas girls had significantly higher levels of body mass index (BMI) and pubertal status than boys. In terms of types of independent mobility, Page and colleagues found that both girls and boys had higher levels of local independent mobility as compared to area independent mobility. When examining the relationship between independent mobility and physical activity, researchers found that local and area independent mobility were significantly and positively related to physical activity levels for both boys and girls on weekdays, that is children with higher scores for local and area independent mobility tended to be more physically active on the weekdays. On the weekends, however, local independent mobility was the only significant predictor of physical activity levels in girls. While unclear, researchers speculate that on the weekends children may spend more time under parental supervision. Importantly, researchers controlled for a number of other variables in their analyses, including BMI, minutes of daylight, and socioeconomic status. The study provides important insight into the relationship between independent mobility and physical activity in 10- to 11-year-old children.
Page, A. S., Cooper, A. R., Griew, P, Hillsdon, M., (2009). Independent mobility in relation to weekday and weekend physical activity in children aged 10-11 years: The PEACH Project. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 6(2)