Aim: This study assessed estimates of physical activity in primary school children aged 6–10 years by means of a validated questionnaire (Weston et al. 1999). Methods: The Previous Day Physical Activity Recall questionnaire (PDPAR; n = 9965) was administered to primary school students in grades 1–5 from 154 sampled schools of northwest Italy to provide measures of relative energy expenditure. The PDPAR questionnaire required recall of the previous day’s activities for the after school hours (3:00–11:00 pm), segmented into seventeen 30-min intervals with relative intensities. Bouts of moderate to vigorous activity as well as sedentariness were identified in terms of metabolic equivalent and minutes per day, corresponding to each level of intensity (sedentary, light, moderate, vigorous). Results: More than half of the interviewed sample (61 %) reported C5 h of sedentariness during the after school time, far beyond the max 2 h warned by the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines . However, on average, children reached C60 min of WHO-recommended moderate-vigorous activity (60 %) while half of the sample reached C20 min of sole vigorous activity (50 %) as encouraged by the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports (Corbin et al. 2004). Conclusions: According to this one-day snapshot prevalence, sedentariness accounts for a greater after-school time in primary school children of northwest Italy. Physical activity-based educational interventions are advocated for promoting healthy lifestyles.
- physical activity
- primary school