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Objectively Measured Physical Activity in the 1993 Pelotas (Brazil) Birth Cohort


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: December 2012 - Volume 44 - Issue 12 - p 2369–2375
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3182687d35

Introduction Data on physical activity levels of adolescents are mostly derived from self-reported instruments, and the vast majority of studies using objective measures are from high-income countries. The aim of this study was to describe the patterns of objectively measured physical activity in Brazilian adolescents.

Methods In 2004–2005 (mean age of 13.3 yr), a subsample of the 1993 Pelotas (Brazil) Birth Cohort with data on all previous visits was approached. Physical activity was measured using the ActiGraph GT1M accelerometer (ActiGraph Corporation, Pensacola, FL). Demographic and other variables were assessed by self-report.

Results A total of 486 individuals (51% boys) provided valid data on objectively measured physical activity (response rate = 95.1%). The mean registered time of accelerometer data was 1191 min·d−1 (SD = 112). The mean times (in minutes) spent in sedentary, light, moderate, and vigorous activities were 962 (SD = 114), 176 (SD = 46), 36 (SD = 16), and 17 (SD = 10) min·d−1, respectively. More than 30% of the adolescents accumulated ≥60 min·d−1 of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Physical activity intensity (counts per minute) and the prevalence of accumulation ≥60 min·d−1 of MVPA were higher among boys and in those who walked or cycled to school. The prevalence of accumulation >60 min·d−1 of MVPA was 125% higher in those from lower economic levels compared with higher economic levels (P < 0.001).

Conclusion A large proportion of Brazilian adolescents of the 1993 Pelotas Birth Cohort do not achieve the current recommendation for health-related physical activity, and active commuting to school may be a target for interventions aimed at increasing physical activity. Physical activity levels are higher in lower socioeconomic groups than that in higher groups.

1Physical Education School, Federal University of Pelotas, Pelotas, BRAZIL; 2Physical Activity Epidemiology Research Group, Federal University of Pelotas, Pelotas, BRAZIL; 3Post-graduate Program in Epidemiology, Federal University of Pelotas, Pelotas, BRAZIL; 4Childhood Nutrition Research Centre, UCL Institute of Child Health, London, UNITED KINGDOM; 5MRC Epidemiology Unit, Institute of Metabolic Science, Cambridge, UNITED KINGDOM; and 6Department of Sport Medicine, Norwegian School of Sport Science, Oslo, NORWAY

Address for correspondence: Felipe Fossati Reichert, Ph.D., Physical Education School, Federal University of Pelotas, Luiz de Camões Street, 625, CEP: 96055-630 Pelotas, RS, Brazil; E-mail:

Submitted for publication March 2012.

Accepted for publication July 2012.

©2012The American College of Sports Medicine