Are mothers of young children really inactive?

Brown, W.J., Trost, S.G., & Ringuet, C. (2001) Are mothers of young children really inactive? In 48th Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine, 30 May - 2 June 2001, Baltimore, MD.

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Australian surveys have found that only 43% of women meet the current recommendation for regular moderate physical activity, and that women who are mothers of young children are even less likely to be adequately active for health benefit. These women spend a significant proportion of their day in occupational, household and care-giving activities, which may not be ‘captured’ in conventional physical activity surveys. The purpose of this study was to compare physical activity in young mothers and age-matched controls using three different measures of physical activity. 35 women (16 mothers of young children, M) and 19 age-matched comparison women (NM) completed a survey which asked about walking to and from places, and about moderate and vigorous activity in leisure time and at work (paid and unpaid). They also kept a detailed diary of all their activities for two week-days and two week-end days, and wore a pedometer (Yamax digiwalker) on these days. Each activity in the diary was assigned an energy expenditure (EE) score based on it's intensity (Compendium of Physical Activity) and time spent in that activity. There were no differences between M and NM for pedometer steps (M: 9270 sd 2947; NM: 9768 sd 3051) or for daily energy expenditure (EE) calculated from the diaries (M: 2029 sd 189; NM: 2015 sd 169 METS.mins) or survey (M: 2079 sd 448; NM: 1495 sd 325). There was a significant correlation between pedometer steps and daily METs.mins estimated from the diaries (r = 0.35, p = 0.04); however no relationship was observed between pedometer steps and EE from the survey (r = .09, p = .56). Further analysis of the individual survey items found pedometer steps to be related to EE from walking to and from places (r = .34) and leisure time (r = .31), but not work related activity (r = -.08). There were no significant relationships between EE computed from the diaries and any of the survey questions. The three activity measures indicate that the physical activity levels of the young mothers in our sample were comparable to age-matched non-mothers. The results of the correlation analyses highlight the difficulty of assessing low-intensity work-related physical activity via self-report. Supported by Australian Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care.

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ID Code: 72587
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: No
Additional Information: Abstract published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 33(5) Supplementary 1, pp.S114.
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Deposited On: 04 Jun 2014 23:21
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2014 23:23

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