A systematic review of children’s physical activity patterns: concept, operational definitions, instruments, statistical analyses, and health implications

Thayse Natacha Gomes, Peter T. Katzmarzyk, Sara Pereira, Mabliny Thuany, Martyn Standage, José Maia

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Despite the widespread use of the expression “physical activity pattern” (PAP), there apparently is no general consensus regarding its definition. This systematic review aimed to examine available research focussing on (1) definitions of PAP, (2) instruments/techniques used to describe PAP, (3) statistical approaches used to analyse PAP, and (4) implications of PAP on children’s health. A systematic review of the available literature was done to identify studies published up to October 2019, and 76 studies were eligible. None of the studies presented a formal definition of PAP; a wide range of instruments were used to investigate children’s PAP, and most of the revised studies did not explicitly present a formal statistical model to define PAP. Twenty-four papers purported to examine associations between PAP and health indicators. The review highlights no consensus on a clear PAP definition whatever the instrument used to capture it, and we did not find any agreement regarding how best to analyse PAP. We suggest that PAP should be used when targeting the investigation of similarities/dissimilarities, as well as stabilities and/or changes in children’s PA at an intra-personal level. In sum, PAP should be used to best describe individual streams of behaviours, and not exclusively PA levels/intensities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5837
Pages (from-to)1-25
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume17
Issue number16
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Aug 2020

Keywords

  • Children
  • Definition
  • Health
  • Measurement
  • Physical activity pattern

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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