Does Childhood Temperamental Activity Predict Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior over a 30-Year Period? Evidence from the Young Finns Study

Int J Behav Med. 2017 Apr;24(2):171-179. doi: 10.1007/s12529-016-9592-5.

Abstract

Purpose: We examined associations between childhood temperamental activity, physical activity (PA), and television (TV) viewing over a 30-year period.

Method: The participants (1220 boys and 1237 girls) were aged 3, 6, 9, and 12 years in 1980 and were followed until 2011. Temperamental activity was evaluated by participants' mothers at baseline. The PA was assessed based on maternal ratings of the child from ages 3 to 6 and via self-report age from the age of 9 across all measurements. TV viewing was assessed using self-reports taken from 2001 to 2011. The associations between temperamental activity and the level and change of PA and TV viewing were determined using linear growth modeling stratified by gender and age group.

Results: High temperamental activity assessed from ages 9 to 12 was associated with high levels of childhood PA in both genders, but with a steeper decline in PA levels during the first 9 years of follow-up in boys. High temperamental activity assessed from ages 3 to 6 was associated with the decline of PA from childhood to youth in girls. High childhood temperamental activity was associated with decreased levels of PA in adulthood in men, but not in women. The associations between childhood temperamental activity and TV viewing during adulthood seemed to be positive but not consistently significant in all age and gender groups.

Conclusion: High temperamental activity may contribute to the development of a physically inactive lifestyle. More evidence is needed with regard to gender differences among participants in similar study settings.

Keywords: Follow-up; Physical activity; Sedentary behavior; Temperamental activity.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Finland
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mothers
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Self Report
  • Television
  • Temperament / physiology*
  • Young Adult