Investigating elementary school children's daily physical activity and sedentary behaviours during weekdays. Academic Article uri icon


  • The purpose of the study was to quantify the contributions of physical education, exergaming (active video games that also are a type of exercise), recess, lunch break and after-school time segments to children's daily physical activity and sedentary behaviours. Participants were 138 second and third graders (71 girls) who attended 20-min recess and 75-min lunch time daily, 25-min regular physical education or exergaming-based classes being alternated daily. The after-school period was defined as 3:20-10:00pm. Physical activity was assessed via accelerometry and the dependent variables were children's time spent in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), light physical activity and sedentary behaviour. Children's percentages of time spent in MVPA (P<.001; except for the difference between exergaming and lunch break: P=.63), light physical activity (P<.001) and sedentary behaviour (P<.001) differed significantly across the time segments (i.e., physical education/exergaming, recess, lunch break and after-school). Additionally, children accumulated significantly more MVPA (t=10.22, P<.001) but less light physical activity (t=-3.17, P=.002) and sedentary behaviour (t=-3.91, P<.001) in physical education than in exergaming. Overall, physical education was more effective in generating MVPA than other segments over the school day. The after-school segment holds potential as an avenue for promoting children's MVPA, as this long period could be better utilised to organise structured physical activity.

published proceedings

  • J Sports Sci

altmetric score

  • 7.2

author list (cited authors)

  • Gao, Z., Chen, S., Huang, C. C., Stodden, D. F., & Xiang, P.

citation count

  • 20

complete list of authors

  • Gao, Zan||Chen, Senlin||Huang, Charles C||Stodden, David F||Xiang, Ping

publication date

  • January 2016