Comparison of Accelerometer Measured Physical Activity Patterns between Urban and Rural New Zealand Adolescents
Background: Few adolescents are meeting physical activity (PA) guidelines nationally and internationally. Current knowledge of adolescents’ PA patterns is derived predominantly from studies conducted in urban settings, therefore an understanding around rural adolescent PA is currently limited. This study compared accelerometer-measured PA patterns between urban and rural adolescents in Otago, New Zealand. Methods: Adolescents [n=468 (338 urban; 130 rural); age: 14.9 ± 1.4 years; 66.7% female] from 23 of 27 secondary schools completed an online survey and anthropometry measures and wore an accelerometer for 7 days. Only adolescents with valid accelerometer data (≥5days/week, ≥10 hours/day) were included in the analysis. Results: No significant differences in moderate-to-vigorous PA or the proportion of adolescents meeting minimum PA guidelines were found between urban and rural adolescents. Compared to rural adolescents, a higher proportion of urban adolescents met PA guidelines on school days (urban: 41.7%; rural: 30.8%, p=0.029), however no difference was found on weekend days (urban: 26.3%; rural: 24.6%, p=0.704). Overall, a greater proportion of males met PA guidelines compared to females (42.9% vs. 30.1%, p=0.006). In comparison to those in rural areas (24.7%), a higher proportion of females met PA guidelines on school days in urban areas (37.0%, p=0.039), whereas such differences were not observed among males or on weekend days. Conclusions: Adolescents’ PA is low. PA patterns differed in urban versus rural adolescents and by gender. New Zealand-based PA initiatives need to focus on increasing moderate-tovigorous PA and reducing sedentary behaviour among urban and rural adolescents. Particular focus should encourage PA among rural females. Geographical setting and gender should be taken into account when planning initiatives to increase PA among New Zealand adolescents.
Advisor: Mandic, Sandra
Degree Name: Master of Science
Degree Discipline: School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: New Zealand; Physical Activity; Urban; Rural; Adolescents; Accelerometer
Research Type: Thesis