Profiles of children’s physical activity and sedentary behaviour between age 6 and 9: a latent profile and transition analysis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
223 Downloads (Pure)


Physical activity is associated with improved physical and mental health among children. However, physical activity declines and sedentary time increases with age, and large proportions of older children do not meet the recommended hour per day of moderate-to-vigorous-intensity physical activity (MVPA). The aim of this paper is to identify profiles of children based on the complex relationship between physical activity and sedentary time at ages 6 and 9 and explore how those profiles are associated with other covariates and how they change over time.

Valid accelerometer data were collected for 1132 children aged 6 and 1121 at age 9, with 565 children with data at both ages. We calculated the proportions of total wear time spent in sedentary, light and MVPA activity on both weekdays and weekends. Latent profile (class) analysis was applied separately to the two age groups to identify activity profiles. We then used latent transition analysis to explore transitions between profiles at the two time points.

We identified five profiles of activity at age 6 and six profiles at age 9. Although profiles were not directly equivalent, five classes captured similar patterns at both ages and ranged from very active to inactive. At both ages, active profiles, where the majority achieved the recommended MVPA guidelines, were more likely to be active at weekends than on weekdays. There was substantial movement between classes, with strongest patterns of movement to classes with no change or a decrease in MVPA. Transition between classes was associated with sex, BMI z-score, screen-viewing and participation in out-of-school activities.

This paper is the first to apply latent profile analysis to the physical activity of UK children as they move through primary school. Profiles were identified at ages 6 and 9, reflecting different weekday and weekend patterns of physical activity and sedentary time. There was substantial movement between profiles between ages 6 and 9, mostly to no change or less active profiles. Weekend differences suggest that greater focus on how weekend activity contributes to an average of 60 minutes per day of MVPA across the week may be warranted.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
Publication statusPublished - 23 Oct 2018


  • Physical Activity
  • Transition
  • Cohort
  • Children

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Profiles of children’s physical activity and sedentary behaviour between age 6 and 9: a latent profile and transition analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this