Seasonal variation in the distribution of daily stepping in 11-13 year old school children

Paul McCrorie, Elaine Duncan, Malcolm H. Granat, Benedict W. Stansfield

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Purpose Seasonality studies in adolescent’s physical activity (PA) tend to report total PA (e.g. steps/day) rather than more specific detail such as steps/hour. This study compared the detailed changes in PA between seasons. Methods Thirty three adolescents (baseline age 12.2 ± 0.3y) wore the activPAL activity monitor for 8 days on two occasions. Results Steps/day were higher in summer (Mdn = 12,879) than winter (Mdn = 10,512), p<.001. Steps/hour were significantly higher in summer compared to winter between 17:00 and 21:00 (p<. 044). No steps/day differences were found between boys and girls at either time point (p>.05), however, boys had significantly higher step counts in summer between ’13:00-14:00’ (p=.023), ’19:00-20:00’ (p=.032) and ‘20:00-21:00’ (p=.023). Conclusion Total steps/day masked sex differences within specific hours of the day, particularly evening times. Detailed daily patterns of PA are required to fully understand differences between sexes and across seasons.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)358-371
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Exercise Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • physical activity
  • young people
  • accelerometers
  • seasons


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