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Physical activity trajectories during childhood and lung function at 15 years: Findings from the ALSPAC cohort

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Celina Roda
  • Osama Mahmoud
  • Gabriela Peralta
  • Elaine Fuertes
  • Raquel Granell
  • Ignasi Serra
  • A J W Henderson
  • Deborah Jarvis
  • J. Garcia-Aymerich
Original languageEnglish
Article numberdyz128
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Epidemiology
DateAccepted/In press - 29 Mar 2019
DatePublished (current) - 3 Jul 2019


Background. Although physical activity has many known health benefits, its association with lung function in childhood/adolescence remains unclear. We examined the association of physical activity trajectories between 11 and 15 years with lung function at 15 years in 2266 adolescents.

Methods. A population-based cohort of 14 305 singleton births alive at one year was recruited in the UK population-based ALSPAC cohort. Physical activity (counts/minute and moderateto-vigorous physical activity) was assessed for seven days using an accelerometer at 11, 13, and 15 years. We identified sex-specific physical activity trajectories applying K-means for longitudinal data in children with at least two accelerometer measurements (n=3584). We then estimated the sex-specific associations of these trajectories with postbronchodilation lung
function parameters using multivariable linear regression models (n=2266, 45% boys).

Results. Fewer than 7% of participants met the WHO physical activity recommendations (i.e. daily average of at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity). Boys were substantially more active than girls. In both sexes, we identified three distinct physical activity trajectories (“low”: 39.8% boys, 45.8% girls, “moderate”: 42.9% boys, 41.4% girls, and “high” physical activity: 17.3% boys, 12.8% girls). Girls in the moderate and high physical activity trajectories had 0.11 L (95% CI: 0.04-0.19) and 0.15 L (95% CI: 0.03-0.26) higher FVC than
their less active peers. No association was observed in boys.

Conclusions. Higher childhood physical activity relates to higher lung function levels in adolescent girls. A better understanding of the mechanisms underlying this association should be pursued.

    Research areas

  • ALSPAC, children, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, respiratory health

    Structured keywords

  • Developmental
  • Physical and Mental Health

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