Background: The aim was to describe levels, patterns and correlates of physical activity and sedentary behavior in a sample of Swedish children, two years of age, with normal weight, overweight and obese parents.
Methods: Data from 123 children, 37 with normal-weight parents and 86 with overweight/obese parents, enrolled in the Early Stockholm Obesity Prevention Project study was used. Children wore an Actigraph GT3X+ accelerometer for seven days. Average activity (counts per minute), number of steps and time spent in low and high-intensity physical activity and in sedentary was assessed. Differences between weekdays and weekend days were examined as were correlations with sex, body mass index (BMI), motor skills and family-related factors.
Results: Children were active at high intensity 11% of the day. On average 55% of the day was spent being sedentary. Number of steps and time in low-intensity physical activity differed between weekdays and weekend days: on weekdays, 363 more steps (p = 0.01) and six more minutes in low physical activity (p = 0.04). No differences were found for any physical activity or sedentary behavior variable by sex, BMI, motor skills or any family-related variable (p = 0.07 - 0.95).
Conclusions: Two-year-old children have an intermittent activity pattern, that is almost similar on weekdays and they spend about half of the daytime active. The absence of any association with sex, BMI, motor skills or parental factors indicates that the individual variation in this age group is primarily due to endogenous factors.
Trial registration: Clinicaltrials.gov: NCT01198847 .