Contribution of youth sport to total daily physical activity among 6- to 12-yr-old boys

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2007 Sep;39(9):1493-500. doi: 10.1249/mss.0b013e318093f56a.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was twofold: 1) to determine the contribution of organized youth sport to total daily physical activity (PA), and 2) to examine the contribution of daily recess and physical education (PE) to total daily PA.

Methods: Using a cross-sectional design, 119 children wore an accelerometer during a school day in which they participated in organized youth sport. A subsample (N=36) wore the accelerometer on a nonsport day to examine day-to-day differences in PA. Total daily PA and PA during youth sport, recess, and PE were estimated. The contributions of youth sport, recess, and PE were determined by dividing the amount of PA from each activity by the total daily amount of PA.

Results: Approximately 110 min of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) were achieved on the monitoring day. Youth sport contributed approximately 23% of the total MVPA, whereas PE and recess contributed almost 11 and 16%, respectively. Nearly half of the accumulated minutes of MVPA were attributed to unstructured activities (approximately 56 min). For the entire sample, approximately 52% of youth sport time was spent in either sedentary or light-intensity activities, whereas moderate and vigorous physical activity accounted for approximately 27 and 22% of the time, respectively. During a nonsport day, participants engaged in significantly more sedentary activity (P=0.02) and significantly less moderate (P=0.02) and vigorous activity (P<0.001) compared with the sport day.

Conclusion: Participants in this study averaged 110 min of MVPA during a day in which they participated in youth sport. The additional amount of MVPA accumulated on the sport day (approximately 30 min) was not maintained on a nonsport day.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acceleration
  • Anthropometry
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities*
  • Male
  • Monitoring, Ambulatory / methods
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Physical Exertion / physiology*
  • Schools
  • Sports / physiology*