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Back to school after lockdown: The effect of COVID-19 restrictions on children's device-based physical activity metrics

Liezel Hurter, Melitta McNarry Orcid Logo, Gareth Stratton Orcid Logo, Kelly Mackintosh Orcid Logo

Journal of Sport and Health Science, Volume: 11, Issue: 4, Pages: 530 - 536

Swansea University Authors: Liezel Hurter, Melitta McNarry Orcid Logo, Gareth Stratton Orcid Logo, Kelly Mackintosh Orcid Logo

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Abstract

Objective: The Coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and national lockdowns took away opportunities for children to be physically active. This study aimed to determine the effect of the COVID-19 lockdown on accelerometer-assessed physical activity (PA) in children in Wales. Methods: 800 parti...

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Published in: Journal of Sport and Health Science
ISSN: 2095-2546 2213-2961
Published: Elsevier BV 2022
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa59083
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Abstract: Objective: The Coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and national lockdowns took away opportunities for children to be physically active. This study aimed to determine the effect of the COVID-19 lockdown on accelerometer-assessed physical activity (PA) in children in Wales. Methods: 800 participants (8 – 18-year-olds), stratified by sex, age and socio-economic status, wore Axivity AX3 accelerometers for seven days in February 2021 during the lockdown, and in May 2021 whilst in school. Raw accelerometer data were processed in R-package GGIR, and cut-point data, average acceleration (AvAcc), intensity gradient (IG) and MX metrics were extracted. Linear mixed models were used to assess the influence of time-point, sex, age and SES, on PA. Results: During lockdown, moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA) was 38.4 ± 24.3 min·day-1; sedentary time (ST) was 849.4 ± 196.6 min·day-1. PA levels increased significantly upon return to school (all variables p < 0.001). While there were no sex differences during lockdown (p = 0.233), girls engaged in significantly less MVPA than boys once back in school (p < 0.001). Furthermore, boys had more favourable intensity profiles than girls (IG: p < 0.001), regardless of time-point. PA levels decreased with age at both time-points; upper secondary school (USS) girls were the least active group, with an average M30 of 195.2 mg (whilst in school). Conclusion: The lockdown affected boys more than girls as reflected by the disappearance of the typical sex difference in PA levels during lockdown, although they were re-established on return to school. USS (especially girls) might need specific COVID-recovery intervention.
Keywords: accelerometer, intensity gradient, MX metrics
College: College of Engineering
Funders: Welsh Government S^er Cymru III Tackling COVID-19 grant scheme (Welsh Government project number: 099), The Higher Education Funding Council for Wales Research Wales Innovation Fund (Collaboration Booster Faculty Fund), and the Swansea University Greatest Need fund. LH was partly funded by The Welsh Institute of Physical Activity, Health and Sport (WIPAHS).
Issue: 4
Start Page: 530
End Page: 536