Physical activity level and body mass index among schoolchildren in south-eastern Sweden

Acta Paediatr. 2004 Mar;93(3):400-4.


Aim: The aims of this study were to identify current levels of physical activity and to study the relationship between physical activity and body mass index (BMI) using international cut-off points.

Methods: 871 children, aged 7-14 y, were measured for height and weight and the activity levels were analysed using pedometers to measure mean step counts for 4 consecutive days.

Results: Step counts were significantly higher in boys than in girls, and showed stability over age and large in-group differences. BMI showed that 13.2% of the boys and 14.5% of the girls were overweight and 4.5% of both boys and girls were obese. Analysis of step counts and BMIs for boys and girls revealed no significant correlations in any age group.

Conclusion: Pedometers differentiate among age groups and gender concerning physical activity and facilitate individual goal-setting. The result of this study provide baseline information, useful as reference data, on youth physical activity as daily step counts, as well as on youth BMI levels according to new international cut-off points.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Physical Fitness*
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Walking*