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Journal of Obesity
Volume 2011, Article ID 679328, 6 pages
Research Article

How Children Move: Activity Pattern Characteristics in Lean and Obese Chinese Children

1Institute of Human Performance, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Pokfulam, Hong Kong
2Department of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong
3Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong

Received 1 June 2010; Revised 1 September 2010; Accepted 2 December 2010

Academic Editor: Eric Doucet

Copyright © 2011 Alison M. McManus et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Physical activity and sedentary behavior are central components of lifetime weight control; however, our understanding of dimensions of these behaviors in childhood is limited. This study investigated free-living activity pattern characteristics and the individual variability of these characteristics in 84 lean and obese Chinese children (7–9 y) during the school day and over the weekend. Activity pattern characteristics were established from triaxial accelerometry (StayHealthy RT3). Results indicated that children's free-living activity is characterized by many short-duration, low-intensity bouts of movement. Obese children take longer rest intervals between bouts and engage in fewer activity bouts both at school and at home. Intraindividual variability in activity patterns was low during school days but high for the rest intervals between bouts and number of activity bouts per day at the weekend. Finding ways to reduce the rest time between bouts of movement and increase the number of movement bouts a child experiences each day is an important next step.