Physical activity trajectories from childhood to late adolescence and their implications for health in young adulthood

E K Howie, J A McVeigh, A J Smith, J Zabatiero, R S Bucks, T A Mori, L J Beilin, L M Straker

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Abstract

Physical activity has been associated with physical and mental health across the life course, yet few studies have used group-based trajectory modelling to examine the effect of longitudinal patterns of physical activity during childhood and adolescence on adult health outcomes. The Raine Study data from Gen2 follow-ups at 8, 10, 14, 17, 20, and 22 years collected between 1998 and 2014 were used. Latent class analysis identified trajectories using parent-reported physical activity for ages 8 to 17. Associations between trajectories and physical and mental health outcomes at ages 20 and 22 were explored, adjusting for current physical activity and considering sex interactions. Analysis in 2019 identified three trajectories: low (13%), mid (65%) and high (22%) physical activity (n=1,628). Compared to the low-activity trajectory, those in the high-activity trajectory had lower adiposity, insulin, HOMA-IR and fewer diagnosed disorders, higher HDL-cholesterol, and faster cognitive processing. For example, those in the high-activity trajectory had lower percent body fat at age 20 compared to those in the mid-activity (-4.2%, 95%CI: -5.8, -2.7) and low-activity (-9.5%, 95%CI: -11.7, -7.2) trajectories. Physical activity trajectories showed different associations between sexes for self-reported physical and mental health, BMI, systolic blood pressure, and depression symptoms. Being in the high- or mid-activity trajectory was associated with a more favorable cardiometabolic and mental health profile in young adulthood. Strategies are needed to help less active children to increase physical activity throughout childhood and adolescence to improve young adult health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106224
JournalPreventive Medicine
Volume139
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020

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