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Determinants of Physical Activity in the UK Millennium Cohort Study
£121,620, Wellcome Trust The prevalence of obesity in children has increased dramatically in recent years in most industrialised countries, with evidence of earlier age at onset. In the UK in 2007, more than one quarter of 2-10 year old children were obese or overweight. The implications for children and their future health and well-being are immense but the reasons for the increase among pre-pubertal children remain unclear. Information on tracking of activity and sedentary behaviours from childhood to adolescence is limited and mostly based on self-report which can be difficult for children and their parents and may be misleading. There is some evidence to suggest that maintenance of physical activity may protect against abdominal fatness, especially in women, and that sedentary behaviours are very stable through childhood. This indicates that strategies to maintain healthy activity behaviours or to avoid or reverse unhealthy activity behaviours will need to target early childhood. This project enhances the information collected on the large scale survey of 7 year olds in the Millennium Cohort Study with objective evidence, based on accelerometers of children’s physical activity. At this age the establishment of active and sedentary behaviour may be crucial, but little was known about their prevalence, or what promotes and impedes a healthy level of physical activity.
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