Differences in physical activity by gender, weight status and travel mode to school in Cypriot children

Prev Med. 2008 Jul;47(1):107-11. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2008.01.025. Epub 2008 Feb 14.


Objective: More information about children's physical activity during different periods of the day is needed. The purpose of this study was to describe children's physical activity during the segmented school day and examine potential differences during different periods of the day across gender, travel mode to school and weight status.

Methods: School children (N=247) wore pedometers for four consecutive school days and recorded their steps during the before school period, the 20-min school break, the whole school period, the after school period and for the whole day. Children also reported how they traveled to school. Data were collected in Cyprus, in January/February of 2007.

Results: T-tests indicated that boys took significantly higher steps than girls throughout all the segments of the day (p<0.001) and children who walked to school exhibited higher step counts during the before school period (p<0.001), the after school period (p<0.01), and the whole day (p<0.01) in comparison to children who used motorized transport. A three-way ANOVA revealed significant two-way interactions between weight status and travel mode to school.

Conclusion: Results suggest that there is a need to promote physical activity among children, especially among girls. Promoting active transport to school may further enhance the effectiveness of intervention programs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Automobiles*
  • Body Weight*
  • Child
  • Cyprus
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Walking*