Special Issue "Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour in Children and Adolescents"

A special issue of Children (ISSN 2227-9067).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (3 September 2018)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Lynne M. Boddy

The Physical Activity Exchange, Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, UK
Website | E-Mail
Interests: children’s physical activity and health; physical activity measurement; physical activity interventions; epidemiological studies
Guest Editor
Prof. Zoe Knowles

The Physical Activity Exchange, Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, UK
Website | E-Mail
Interests: psycho-social determinants of physical activity; benefits of natural and active play; creative and qualitative methodologies with children; design/evaluation of physical activity interventions
Guest Editor
Dr. Pedro F. Saint-Maurice

Metabolic Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, NIH, HHS, 9609 Medical Center Drive, Room 6E-572, Rockville, MD 20850, USA
E-Mail
Phone: +44 240-276-7615
Interests: physical activity epidemiology; measurement and evaluation of physical activity; physical fitness in youth; physical activity behaviour

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Physical activity is an important determinant of health that is associated with a range of physical and psychosocial benefits. Despite this, we know that many children and young people are inactive and spend a lot of time engaged in sedentary behaviours. Physical activity is a complex behaviour influenced by a range of factors. Furthermore, the accurate measurement of physical activity remains a major challenge to researchers in the discipline. The goal of this special edition is to provide a wide-reaching and contemporary snapshot of paediatric physical activity research. The issue will be aligned to aspects of the Behavioural Epidemiology Framework. Therefore, we are interested in articles covering topics such as the following:

  • Advances in paediatric physical activity measurement
  • Applications of physical activity measures for intervention research
  • The use of creative methodologies within intervention design and evaluation
  • Distribution of physical activity and sedentary behaviours
  • Correlates of children and adolescents’ physical activity and/or sedentary behaviour
  • The interplay between physical activity and/or sedentary behaviour and health in children
  • Evaluations of interventions, which may include effectiveness and process evaluations
  • New horizons in children’s physical activity, including policy development and commentaries

Dr. Lynne M. Boddy
Prof. Zoe Knowles
Dr. Pedro F. Saint-Maurice
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Children is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 550 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Children’s physical activity
  • Children’s sedentary behaviour
  • Behaviour change
  • Health
  • Measurement
  • Epidemiology
  • Accelerometers
  • Self-reports

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle The Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Patterns of Children in Kindergarten and Grade 2
Children 2018, 5(10), 131; https://doi.org/10.3390/children5100131
Received: 28 July 2018 / Revised: 5 September 2018 / Accepted: 11 September 2018 / Published: 20 September 2018
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Abstract
Accompanying the transition from early to middle childhood are substantial changes in children’s educational and recreational circumstances. These changes may affect physical activity levels. This study examined levels of physical activity and sedentary behaviours in kindergarten (age range 5–6 years) and grade 2
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Accompanying the transition from early to middle childhood are substantial changes in children’s educational and recreational circumstances. These changes may affect physical activity levels. This study examined levels of physical activity and sedentary behaviours in kindergarten (age range 5–6 years) and grade 2 (age range 7–8 years). Participants were 96 kindergarten children recruited in the 2010–2011 and 2011–2012 school years and 94 grade 2 children recruited in the 2012–2013 and 2013–2014 school years. A sub-cohort of children was tracked longitudinally from kindergarten to grade 2. Accelerometers were used to measure physical activity and sedentary behaviour. Independent t-tests revealed that children in grade 2 spent significantly less time engaged in physical activity compared to those in kindergarten (292 min/day compared with 354 min/day) and more in sedentary behaviours (443 min/day compared with 368 min/day). For the longitudinal sample, the pattern was similar. Repeated measures ANOVA revealed a significant decrease in physical activity levels (364 min/day to 292 min/day) and a significant increase in sedentary behaviour (368 min/day to 435 min/day) over time. There is a critical need to invest in strategies to maintain higher levels of physical activity across the primary years and reduce sedentary time, since these behaviours affect health outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour in Children and Adolescents)
Open AccessArticle School Bag Weight as a Barrier to Active Transport to School among New Zealand Adolescents
Children 2018, 5(10), 129; https://doi.org/10.3390/children5100129
Received: 3 September 2018 / Revised: 14 September 2018 / Accepted: 17 September 2018 / Published: 20 September 2018
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Abstract
Background: Excessive school bag weight is a barrier to active transport to school (ATS). This study examined parents’ and adolescents’ perceptions of school bag weights and actual school bag weights for adolescents in New Zealand. Methods: Parents (n = 331; 76.7% women) completed
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Background: Excessive school bag weight is a barrier to active transport to school (ATS). This study examined parents’ and adolescents’ perceptions of school bag weights and actual school bag weights for adolescents in New Zealand. Methods: Parents (n = 331; 76.7% women) completed a survey. Adolescents (n = 682; age 15.1 ± 1.4 years; 57.3% boys) completed a survey, underwent anthropometry, and had their school bags weighed. Results: Overall, 68.3% of parents perceived that adolescents’ school bags were too heavy to carry to school. This parental perception differed by adolescents’ mode of transport to school (active/motorized/combined: 35.1%/78.4%/68.8%, p < 0.001). Adolescents perceived that their school bags were too heavy to carry to walk (57.8%) or cycle (65.8%) to school. Adolescent perceptions differed by mode of transport to school (for walking (active/motorized/combined): 30.9%/69.2%/55.9% agree, p < 0.001; for cycling: 47.9%/72.8%/67.7%; p < 0.001). Actual school bag weight was, on average, 5.6 ± 2.1 kg. Relative school bag weight (% of body weight) was higher for boys and underweight adolescents compared to their counterparts. Neither absolute nor relative school bag weight differed by mode of transport to school. Conclusions: School bag weight was perceived a barrier to ATS and was a greater perceived barrier among users of motorized versus active transport. Perceptions of school bag weights should be considered in future ATS interventions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour in Children and Adolescents)
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Open AccessArticle The Feasibility and Acceptability of The Girls Peer Activity (G-PACT) Peer-led Mentoring Intervention
Children 2018, 5(9), 128; https://doi.org/10.3390/children5090128
Received: 7 August 2018 / Revised: 11 September 2018 / Accepted: 18 September 2018 / Published: 19 September 2018
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Abstract
Enjoyment of physical activity (PA) is positively correlated with PA engagement. The inclusion of peers has been found to increase the likelihood of PA enjoyment in youth. Peer-led strategies, incorporating peer networks in the intervention delivery, is relatively underused and consequently understudied in
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Enjoyment of physical activity (PA) is positively correlated with PA engagement. The inclusion of peers has been found to increase the likelihood of PA enjoyment in youth. Peer-led strategies, incorporating peer networks in the intervention delivery, is relatively underused and consequently understudied in school-based PA interventions. The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of the novel Girls Peer Activity (G-PACT) peer-led mentoring intervention. Two-hundred and forty-nine Year 9 adolescent girls (13–14 years old) from three mixed-sex secondary schools located in West Lancashire, North-West England were invited to participate in the G-PACT project. The study employed a novel approach by using a three-tier model, including (Tier 1) Mentors (undergraduate students), (Tier 2) Leaders (Year 9 girls selected by teachers), and (Tier 3) Peers (whole Year 9 cohort). Mentors delivered a series of educational and leadership training to the Leaders in each respective school who then disseminated this information to their Peers and encouraged them to engage in more physical activities. Eight focus groups were conducted with Leaders (n = 40), 28 focus groups with Peers (n = 185), two focus groups with Mentors (n = 6), and three interviews with teachers (n = 4). Thematic analysis was used to analyze the pooled data and identify the key themes. The study found that the G-PACT intervention was feasible and acceptable for adolescent PA Leaders and their Mentors. The relationship between Leaders and their Peers required refinement to improve the communication processes to increase Peer engagement in the G-PACT project. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour in Children and Adolescents)
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Open AccessArticle Youth Physical Activity Patterns During School and Out-of-School Time
Children 2018, 5(9), 118; https://doi.org/10.3390/children5090118
Received: 23 July 2018 / Revised: 17 August 2018 / Accepted: 27 August 2018 / Published: 30 August 2018
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Abstract
This study describes age, sex, and season patterns in children’s physical activity behaviors during discrete time periods, both in school and at home. Participants were 135 elementary, 67 middle, and 89 high-school students (128 boys and 163 girls) involved in a larger school
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This study describes age, sex, and season patterns in children’s physical activity behaviors during discrete time periods, both in school and at home. Participants were 135 elementary, 67 middle, and 89 high-school students (128 boys and 163 girls) involved in a larger school activity monitoring project. We examined time spent in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) at recess, physical education (PE), lunch, commuting to/from school, before-school, after-school, evening, and weekend segments. Differences in MVPA by age, sex, and season were examined using a three-way analysis of variance and separately for each individual segment. Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity levels varied by context and were higher during recess (15.4 ± 8.5 min) while at school, and on Saturdays (97.4 ± 89.5 min) when youth were out-of-school. Elementary children were more active than their older counterparts only during lunch time, after-school, and Sunday (p < 0.05). Boys were consistently more active than girls at all segments. Participants were only more active during non-winter than winter months during PE (p = 0.006), after-school (p < 0.001), and Sunday (p = 0.008) segments. These findings showed that activity levels in youth vary during the day and season. The segments reflect discrete time periods that can potentially be targeted and evaluated to promote physical activity in this population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour in Children and Adolescents)
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Open AccessArticle Preliminary Efficacy and Feasibility of “Thinking While Moving in English”: A Program with Physical Activity Integrated into Primary School English Lessons
Children 2018, 5(8), 109; https://doi.org/10.3390/children5080109
Received: 25 July 2018 / Revised: 3 August 2018 / Accepted: 8 August 2018 / Published: 10 August 2018
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Abstract
Background: The physical, cognitive, and learning benefits of physical activity for children have already been established. However, many schools are failing to provide children with sufficient activity at school due to a crowded school curriculum. Physical activity interventions that integrate physical activity
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Background: The physical, cognitive, and learning benefits of physical activity for children have already been established. However, many schools are failing to provide children with sufficient activity at school due to a crowded school curriculum. Physical activity interventions that integrate physical activity with learning is a way to enhance physical and cognitive benefits without loss of academic time. This study evaluated the preliminary efficacy and feasibility of “Thinking While Moving in English”, a primary school program that integrates physical activity into English lessons. Method: Two classes of Grade 4 students (n = 55, 10–11 years old) were randomly assigned to the intervention (n = 29) or control (n = 26) conditions. The program components consisted of 3 × 40 min physically active academic lessons per week, delivered over a 4-week period. The following measures were taken at baseline and immediate post-intervention: on-task behavior, cognition (inhibition and working memory), and learning outcomes (spelling and grammar). Results: Results revealed significant improvements in on-task behavior and spelling in the intervention group, compared to the control group. There were no observed improvements in cognitive outcomes or grammar. Conclusions: This study provides preliminary evidence for the efficacy of physically active English lessons to enhance children’s educational outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour in Children and Adolescents)
Open AccessArticle Comparison of Accelerometer-Based Cut-Points for Children’s Physical Activity: Counts vs. Steps
Children 2018, 5(8), 105; https://doi.org/10.3390/children5080105
Received: 28 June 2018 / Revised: 29 July 2018 / Accepted: 1 August 2018 / Published: 3 August 2018
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Abstract
Background: Accelerometers measure complex movements of children’s free play moderate-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), including step and non-step movements. Current accelerometer technology has introduced algorithms to measure steps, along with counts. Precise interpretation of accelerometer-based cadence (steps/min) cut-points is necessary for accurately measuring and
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Background: Accelerometers measure complex movements of children’s free play moderate-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), including step and non-step movements. Current accelerometer technology has introduced algorithms to measure steps, along with counts. Precise interpretation of accelerometer-based cadence (steps/min) cut-points is necessary for accurately measuring and tracking children’s MVPA. The purpose of this study was to assess the relationships and agreement between accelerometer-based cut-points (cadence and counts/min) to estimate children’s MVPA compared to measured values. Methods: Forty children (8–12 years; 25 boys) played 6–10 games while wearing a portable metabolic analyzer and GT3X+ to measure and estimate MVPA, respectively. Correlation, kappa, sensitivity, and specificity assessed the relationships and agreement between measured and estimated MVPA. Results: Games elicited, on average, 6.3 ± 1.6 METs, 64.5 ± 24.7 steps/min, and 3318 ± 1262 vertical (V) and 5350 ± 1547 vector-magnitude (VM) counts/min. The relationship between measured and estimated MVPA intensity was higher for cadence (r = 0.50) than V and VM counts/min (r = 0.38 for both). Agreement using V and VM counts/min for measuring PA intensity varied by cut-points (range: 6.8% (κ = −0.02) to 97.6% (κ = 0.49)), while agreement was low using cadence cut-points (range: 4.0% (κ = 0.0009) to 11.3% (κ = 0.001)). Conclusion: While measured and estimated values were well correlated, using cadence tended to misclassify children’s free-play MVPA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour in Children and Adolescents)
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Open AccessArticle Regional Variations in Physical Fitness and Activity in Healthy and Overweight Ecuadorian Adolescents
Children 2018, 5(8), 104; https://doi.org/10.3390/children5080104
Received: 28 June 2018 / Revised: 31 July 2018 / Accepted: 31 July 2018 / Published: 2 August 2018
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Abstract
Background: Insufficient physical activity (PA) and excessive sedentary behavior (SB) are the main contributors to adolescent obesity. However, it is uncertain whether recent economic growth and urbanization in Ecuador are contributing to an obesogenic environment. This study assessed the relationships among fitness, PA,
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Background: Insufficient physical activity (PA) and excessive sedentary behavior (SB) are the main contributors to adolescent obesity. However, it is uncertain whether recent economic growth and urbanization in Ecuador are contributing to an obesogenic environment. This study assessed the relationships among fitness, PA, SB, and perceived social support for PA in adolescents from urban (Quito) and rural (Loja) Ecuador. Methods: Fitness was estimated using 3-min step test and PA and SB participation and social support for PA were self-reported in 407 adolescents. T-tests and analysis of variance assessed differences by sex, obesity status, and region of Ecuador. Pearson correlations assessed relationships among PA, SB, fitness, and social support. Results: Males and rural adolescents (48.3 ± 9.4 and 47.1 ± 9.6 mL/kg/min) were more fit than females and urban adolescents (41.1 ± 7.5 and 39.7 ± 6.1 mL/kg/min). Fitness was negatively correlated with obesity only in rural Ecuador. Few adolescents reported ≥60 min/day of PA (8.4%) or ≤2 h/day of SB (30.2%), with greater SB participation in rural Ecuador. Weak correlations were observed among fitness, PA, SB, and parental/peer support for PA (r = −0.18 to 0.19; p < 0.05). Conclusion: While fitness varied by sex, weight status, and region, SB participation and parent/peer support for PA, not PA participation itself, predicted fitness in rural Ecuadorean adolescents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour in Children and Adolescents)
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Open AccessArticle Self-Reported Physical Activity is Not a Valid Method for Measuring Physical Activity in 15-Year-Old South African Boys and Girls
Received: 27 February 2018 / Revised: 30 May 2018 / Accepted: 1 June 2018 / Published: 6 June 2018
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Abstract
Physical activity plays an important role in the prevention of chronic lifestyle-related diseases. The development of valid instruments for the assessment of physical activity remains a challenge in field studies. The purpose of the present study was therefore to determine the level of
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Physical activity plays an important role in the prevention of chronic lifestyle-related diseases. The development of valid instruments for the assessment of physical activity remains a challenge in field studies. The purpose of the present study was therefore to determine the level of agreement between physical activity objectively measured by the ActiHeart® (Cambridge Neurotechnology Ltd, Cambridge, UK) device and subjectively reported physical activity by means of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire Short Form (IPAQ-SF) among adolescents attending schools in the Tlokwe Local Municipality, South Africa. A cross-sectional study design was used with a total of 63 boys and 45 girls aged 15 years who took part in the Physical Activity and Health Longitudinal Study (PHALS). Stature and weight were measured according to standard International Society for the Advancement of Kinanthropometry (ISAK) protocols. Objective physical activity (PA) was measured by a combined heart rate and accelerometer device (ActiHeart®) for seven consecutive days. Time spent in moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity (MVPA) was assessed. Subjective physical activity was assessed with the self-reported IPAQ-SF. Objective PA indicated that 93% of the participants were inactive and only 6% were highly active. The IPAQ-SF showed that 24% were inactive, with 57% active. A non-significant correlation (r = 0.11; p = 0.29) between the ActiHeart® measure of activity energy expenditure (AEE) and total physical activity (IPAQ-SF) was observed. The Bland–Altman plot showed no agreement between the two measurement instruments and also a variation in the level of equivalence. When Cohen’s kappa (κ) was run to determine the agreement between the two measurement instruments for estimated physical activity, a poor agreement (κ = 0.011, p < 0.005) between the two was found. The poor level of agreement between the objective measure of physical activity (ActiHeart®) and the IPAQ-SF questionnaire should be interpreted cautiously. Future physical activity research using a combination of subjective and objective assessment methods in a large-scale cohort in adolescents is recommended. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour in Children and Adolescents)
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Open AccessArticle The Feasibility of a Novel School Peer-Led Mentoring Model to Improve the Physical Activity Levels and Sedentary Time of Adolescent Girls: The Girls Peer Activity (G-PACT) Project
Received: 27 April 2018 / Revised: 27 May 2018 / Accepted: 30 May 2018 / Published: 31 May 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (810 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Regular physical activity (PA) is associated with numerous physical and psychological health benefits. Adolescents, specifically girls, are at risk of physical inactivity. To date, there is limited research on PA interventions involving peers, which could encourage more adolescent girls to engage in PA.
[...] Read more.
Regular physical activity (PA) is associated with numerous physical and psychological health benefits. Adolescents, specifically girls, are at risk of physical inactivity. To date, there is limited research on PA interventions involving peers, which could encourage more adolescent girls to engage in PA. The investigation aimed to evaluate the feasibility of a novel school three-tier peer-led mentoring model designed to improve PA levels and reduce sedentary time (ST) of adolescent girls. Two-hundred and forty-nine Year 9 adolescent girls (13–15 years old) from three UK secondary schools were invited to participate in a peer-led mentoring intervention (Girls Peer Activity (G-PACT) project). The peer-led mentoring model was delivered in all three schools. Two of the schools received an additional after-school PA component. PA and ST were assessed through wrist-worn accelerometry. Girls who received an exercise class after-school component significantly increased their whole day moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA) (3.2 min, p = 0.009, d = 0.33). Girls who received no after-school component significantly decreased their MVPA (3.5 min, p = 0.016, d = 0.36) and increased their ST (17.2 min, p = 0.006, d = 0.43). The G-PACT intervention demonstrated feasibility of recruitment and data collection procedures for adolescent girls. The peer-led mentoring model shows promise for impacting girls’ MVPA levels when combined with an after-school club PA opportunity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour in Children and Adolescents)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Review of Short-Form Questions for the Evaluation of a Diet, Physical Activity, and Sedentary Behaviour Intervention in a Community Program Targeting Vulnerable Australian Children
Received: 6 June 2018 / Revised: 28 June 2018 / Accepted: 2 July 2018 / Published: 13 July 2018
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Abstract
Childhood obesity is associated with low socioeconomic status in developed countries, and community programs can deliver cost-effective obesity interventions to vulnerable children and adolescents at scale. Evaluating these programs in a low-cost, time-efficient, and culturally appropriate way with valid and reliable measures is
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Childhood obesity is associated with low socioeconomic status in developed countries, and community programs can deliver cost-effective obesity interventions to vulnerable children and adolescents at scale. Evaluating these programs in a low-cost, time-efficient, and culturally appropriate way with valid and reliable measures is essential to determining their effectiveness. We aimed to identify existing valid and reliable short-form instruments (≤50 items for diet, ≤15 items for physical activity) suitable for the assessment of change in diet, physical activity, and sedentary behaviour in an Australian obesity intervention program for children and adolescents aged 7–13 years from low socioeconomic groups, with a focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. Relevant electronic databases were searched, with a focus on Australian literature. Validity and/or reliability studies using diet instruments (5), physical activity/sedentary behaviour instruments (12), and diet and physical activity/sedentary behaviour instruments used with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (3) children were identified. Seven questions on diet, one question on physical activity, and no questions on sedentary behaviour were recommended. These questions can be used for evaluation in community-based obesity programs among Australian children and adolescents, including those from low socioeconomic groups and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour in Children and Adolescents)
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