Day-to-day variability and stability of children's physical activity levels across days of the week are not well understood. Our aims were to examine the day-to-day variability of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), to determine factors influencing the day-to-day variability of MVPA and to estimate stability of MVPA in children. The sample comprises 686 Portuguese children (10 years of age). MVPA was assessed with an accelerometer, and BMI was computed from measured height and weight. Daily changes in MVPA and their correlates (gender, BMI, and maturity) were modeled with a multilevel approach, and tracking was calculated using Foulkes &amp; Davies γ. A total of 51.3% of boys and 26.2% of girls achieved 60 min/day of MVPA on average. Daily MVPA was lower during the weekend (23.6% of boys and 13.6% of girls comply with the recommended 60 min/day of MVPA) compared to weekdays (60.8% and 35.4%, boys and girls, respectively). Normal weight children were more active than obese children and no effect was found for biological maturation. Tracking is low in both boys (γ = 0.59 ± 0.01) and girls (γ = 0.56 ± 0.01). Children's MVPA levels during a week are highly unstable. In summary, boys are more active than girls, maturation does not affect their MVPA, and obese children are less likely to meet 60 min/day of MVPA. These results highlight the importance of providing opportunities for increasing children's daily MVPA on all days of week, especially on the weekend.
Keywords: Actigraph; accelerometry; children; patterns; recommendations MVPA; tracking.