Children's physical activity and psychological health: the relevance of intensity

Parfitt, Gaynor, Pavey, Toby, & Rowlands, Ann V. (2009) Children's physical activity and psychological health: the relevance of intensity. Acta Paediatrica, 98(6), pp. 1037-1043.

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To examine the relevance of physical activity intensity when assessing the relationship between activity and psychological health in 9–10-year-old children.


Activity was assessed by accelerometry in 57 boys (n = 23) and girls (n = 34). Total activity and time spent in very light (≤1.9 METs) through to vigorous activity (≥6 METs) were recorded. Psychological health inventories to assess anxiety, depression and aspects of self-worth were completed.


Time accumulated in very light activity had positive correlations with anxiety and depression (r > 0.30, p < 0.05) and negative correlations with aspects of physical self-worth (r > −0.29, p < 0.05). Time accumulated in vigorous activity had negative correlations with anxiety and behavioural conduct (r > −0.30, p < 0.05) and positive correlation with aspects of physical self-worth (r > 0.28, p < 0.05). Children spending over 4 h in very light intensity activity had more negative psychological profiles than children spending under 4 h at this intensity.


Aspects of psychological health were negatively correlated with very light intensity activity and positively correlated with vigorous intensity activity. Further research should investigate whether reducing time spent in very light intensity activity and increasing time spent in vigorous intensity activity improves psychological health in children.

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ID Code: 92467
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
DOI: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2009.01255.x
ISSN: 1651-2227
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Exercise & Nutrition Sciences
Deposited On: 01 Feb 2016 00:34
Last Modified: 11 Feb 2016 03:48

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