Compliance with physical activity guidelines: prevalence in a population of children and youth

Ann Epidemiol. 2002 Jul;12(5):303-8. doi: 10.1016/s1047-2797(01)00263-0.


Purpose: To use objective monitoring of physical activity to determine the percentages of children and youth in a population that met physical activity guidelines.

Methods: A total of 375 students in grades 1-12 wore an accelerometer (CSA 7164) for seven consecutive days. Bouts of continuous activity and accumulation of minutes spent in physical activity at various intensities were calculated to determine how many students met three physical activity guidelines.

Results: Over 90% of students met Healthy People 2010, Objective 22.6 and nearly 70% met the United Kingdom Expert Consensus Group guideline, both of which recommend daily accumulation of moderate physical activity. Less than 3% met Healthy People 2010, Objective 22.7, which calls for bouts of continuous vigorous physical activity. For the United Kingdom Expert Consensus Group guideline, compliance decreased markedly with age, but gender differences were not statistically significant.

Conclusions: Prevalence estimates for compliance with national physical activity guidelines varied markedly for the three guidelines examined. Objective monitoring of physical activity in youth appears to be feasible and may provide more accurate prevalence rates than self-report measures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child Welfare*
  • Data Collection
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Compliance*
  • Physical Fitness*
  • Population Surveillance
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Prevalence
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology