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Open AccessArticle

A Multilevel Analysis of Neighbourhood, School, Friend and Individual-Level Variation in Primary School Children’s Physical Activity

1
Centre for Exercise, Nutrition & Health Sciences, School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol, 8 Priory Road, Bristol BS8 1TZ, UK
2
School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK
3
MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit at the University of Bristol, Oakfield House, Oakfield Grove, Bristol BS8 2BN, UK
4
Population Health Sciences, Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol, Canynge Hall, Whiteladies Road, Bristol BS8 2PS, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(24), 4889; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16244889
Received: 14 November 2019 / Revised: 29 November 2019 / Accepted: 2 December 2019 / Published: 4 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Children's Health)
Physical activity is influenced by individual, inter-personal and environmental factors. In this paper, we explore the variability in children’s moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) at different individual, parent, friend, school and neighbourhood levels. Valid accelerometer data were collected for 1077 children aged 9, and 1129 at age 11, and the average minutes of MVPA were derived for weekdays and weekends. We used a multiple-membership, multiple-classification model (MMMC) multilevel model to compare the variation in physical activity outcomes at each of the different levels. There were differences in the proportion of variance attributable to the different levels between genders, for weekdays and weekends, at ages 9 and 11. The largest proportion of variability in MVPA was attributable to individual variation, accounting for half of the total residual variability for boys, and two thirds of the variability for girls. MVPA clustered within friendship groups, with friends influencing peer MVPA. Including covariates at the different levels explained only small amounts (3%–13%) of variability. There is a need to enhance our understanding of individual level influences on children’s physical activity.
Keywords: physical activity; children; schools; MVPA physical activity; children; schools; MVPA
MDPI and ACS Style

Salway, R.; Emm-Collison, L.; Sebire, S.J.; Thompson, J.L.; Lawlor, D.A.; Jago, R. A Multilevel Analysis of Neighbourhood, School, Friend and Individual-Level Variation in Primary School Children’s Physical Activity. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 4889.

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