Article open access publication

Age-related patterns of vigorous-intensity physical activity in youth: The International Children's Accelerometry Database

Preventive Medicine Reports, Elsevier, ISSN 2211-3355

Volume 4, 2016

DOI:10.1016/j.pmedr.2016.05.006, Dimensions: pub.1023691404, PMC: PMC4929125, PMID: 27413656,



  1. (1) University of Cambridge, grid.5335.0
  2. (2) Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, grid.412285.8
  3. (3) University of Southern Denmark, grid.10825.3e, SDU
  4. (4) Ghent University, grid.5342.0
  5. (5) University of Bristol, grid.5337.2
  6. (6) University of Canberra, grid.1039.b
  7. (7) Federal University of Pelotas, grid.411221.5
  8. (8) University of Iowa, grid.214572.7
  9. (9) University of Zurich, grid.7400.3
  10. (10) Service of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois, University of Lausanne, Switzerland
  11. (11) University Hospital of Lausanne, grid.8515.9
  12. (12) University of Lisbon, grid.9983.b


Physical activity declines during youth but most evidence reports on combined moderate and vigorous-intensity physical activity. We investigated how vigorous-intensity activity varies with age. Cross-sectional data from 24,025 participants (5.0-18.0 y; from 20 studies in 10 countries obtained 2008-2010) providing ≥ 1 day accelerometer data (International Children's Accelerometry Database (ICAD)). Linear regression was used to investigate age-related patterns in vigorous-intensity activity; models included age (exposure), adjustments for monitor wear-time and study. Moderate-intensity activity was examined for comparison. Interactions were used to investigate whether the age/vigorous-activity association differed by sex, weight status, ethnicity, maternal education and region. A 6.9% (95% CI 6.2, 7.5) relative reduction in mean vigorous-intensity activity with every year of age was observed; for moderate activity the relative reduction was 6.0% (5.6%, 6.4%). The age-related decrease in vigorous-intensity activity remained after adjustment for moderate activity. A larger age-related decrease in vigorous activity was observed for girls (- 10.7%) versus boys (- 2.9%), non-white (- 12.9% to - 9.4%) versus white individuals (- 6.1%), lowest maternal education (high school (- 2.0%)) versus college/university (ns) and for overweight/obese (- 6.1%) versus healthy-weight participants (- 8.1%). In addition to larger annual decreases in vigorous-intensity activity, overweight/obese individuals, girls and North Americans had comparatively lower average vigorous-intensity activity at 5.0-5.9 y. Age-related declines in vigorous-intensity activity during youth appear relatively greater than those of moderate activity. However, due to a higher baseline, absolute moderate-intensity activity decreases more than vigorous. Overweight/obese individuals, girls, and North Americans appear especially in need of vigorous-intensity activity promotion due to low levels at 5.0-5.9 y and larger negative annual differences.


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University of Southern Denmark

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Research area: Medicine

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Relative Citation ratio (RCR): 5.32

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