Physical activity in Dublin children aged 7-9 years

Br J Sports Med. 2001 Aug;35(4):268-72; discussion 273. doi: 10.1136/bjsm.35.4.268.


Objectives: To investigate the amount of regular activity and time spent in sedentary occupations in children aged 7--9 years. Sex differences in levels of activity and time and facilities for physical education at school were also examined.

Methods: A 10% sample of Dublin National Schools were selected. Parents of children in second class were surveyed. The questionnaire used was a modification of the Modifiable Activity Questionnaire for Adolescents. Teachers of second class were questioned about the time and facilities for physical education in schools.

Results: Some 39% of children were participating in hard exercise for at least 20 minutes three or more times a week, with fewer girls (28%) than boys (53%) contributing to this result. A further 57% of children were engaging in at least 20 minutes of light exercise three or more times a week, with no sex differences. Estimated energy expenditure in regular activity was higher in boys than girls. Most (78%) of the children were spending one to three hours a day sedentary in front of a screen.

Conclusions: This study provides comprehensive data on physical activity levels in Dublin schoolchildren aged 7--9 years. The amount of inactivity is of concern. Even at this young age, boys are reported to participate in more physical activity than girls.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Ireland
  • Leisure Activities
  • Male
  • Parents
  • Physical Education and Training / statistics & numerical data*
  • Population Surveillance
  • Schools
  • Sex Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Students / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Television / statistics & numerical data
  • Time Factors
  • Video Games / statistics & numerical data