Aim: To explore the secular trends (time change) of pedometer-determined physical activity (steps per day) in Swedish schoolchildren 7-9 years of age from 2000 to 2006. It was an additional aim to examine the secular trends in body mass index.
Methods: The study was analyzed between two cross-sectional cohorts on children 7-9 years of age carried out in October 2000 (336 children, 153 girls) and March/April 2006 (168 children, 83 girls) in the same five schools in south eastern Sweden, using identical procedures at the two occasions. Data of mean steps per day were collected during four consecutive weekdays (sealed pedometer Yamax SW-200 Tokyo, Japan) and in addition height and weight were measured.
Results: Physical activity (mean steps per day) was significantly higher in 2006 than in 2000 among girls (13,788 vs. 15,141 steps per day) and boys (15,991 vs. 16,973 steps per day). The share of girls and boys to meet the preliminary weight control recommendations of 12,000 and 15,000 steps per day respectively was higher in 2006 than in 2000: 90% versus 75% (girls) and 67% versus 60% (boys).
Conclusion: The level of physical activity (steps per day) during school weekdays was higher in 2006 than in 2000. Enhanced focus on physical activity in society and at school might have influenced the result.