Physical activity in school-age children born preterm

J Pediatr. 2015 Apr;166(4):877-83. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2014.12.013. Epub 2015 Jan 16.


Objectives: To compare objectively measured physical activity in 11- and 15-year-old children who were born preterm with term-born controls and related physical activity measures to lung function measures.

Study design: We used data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. We compared total physical activity, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, and sedentary behavior between children born at 25-32, 33-34, 35-36, and 37-43 weeks' gestation at ages 11 and 15 years. At age 11 years, physical activity measures were correlated with lung spirometry recorded at age 7-9 years.

Results: Valid physical activity data at age 11 years were available for 5025, 197, 57, and 48 children born at 37-43, 35-36, 33-34, and 25-32 weeks' gestation, respectively. At age 15 years, valid physical activity data were available for 1829, 62, 32, and 24 children born at 37-43, 35-36, 33-34, and 25-32 weeks' gestation. Boys were more physically active than girls at both ages. There were no differences in total physical activity, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, or sedentary behavior in children between the different gestation groups. Physical activity at age 11 years did not correlate with spirometry measures at age 7-9 years.

Conclusions: Physical activity was similar for the different gestational groups and did not correlate with lung spirometry. Physical activity does not appear to be limited in preterm-born children despite lung function deficits noted in childhood.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accelerometry / methods
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Premature / physiology*
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spirometry