Physical activity levels of Reception children in the North-East of England: a cross-sectional analysis of seasonal, daily and hourly variation.


  • Dan Jones Teesside University, United Kingdom
  • Alison Innerd School of Health and Life Sciences, Teesside University, United Kingdom
  • Emma L. Giles School of Health and Life Sciences, Teesside University, United Kingdom
  • Liane B. Azevedo School of Human and Health Sciences, University of Huddersfield, United Kingdom


physical activity, early years, reception


Children’s early years are a key time for development, with research suggesting that engaging in physical activity (PA) can have positive health effects. The aim of this study was to describe the cross-sectional PA levels, PA guideline compliance, and how PA varies according to temporal, demographic, and anthropometric factors in Reception children in the North-East of England. Accelerometer measured PA data was recorded and processed according to time spent in sedentary behaviour (SB), light, moderate, moderate to vigorous PA (MVPA) and total PA and analyses were performed according to individual and environmental variations. 265 children provided valid PA data (defined as 8 hours of wear time on three days). 51% of the sample were boys. Children engaged in 261.6 minutes/day of SB, 99.5 minutes/day of MVPA and 271.6 minutes/day of light PA. Significant differences were observed according to season, day of the week, time of the day, sex, socioeconomic status, age, and body mass index-z (BMI-z). This study found that on average, 4–5-year-old children in the North-East of England met the UK PA guidelines. However, there were temporal, sex and socioeconomic differences in PA, highlighting opportunities to promote PA at schools and at home.