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Vol. 2, No. 3, 2009
Issue release date: July 2009
Obes Facts 2009;3:187–195
(DOI:10.1159/000222244)

Tracking of Physical Activity from Childhood to Adulthood: A Review

Telama R.
LIKES Research Institute, Jyväskylä, Department of Sport Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Finland
email Corresponding Author

Abstract

The aim of the article was to review studies on the tracking of physical activity in all phases of life from childhood to late adulthood. The majority of the studies have been published since 2000. The follow-up time in most studies was short, the median being 9 years. In men, the stability of physical activity was significant but low or moderate during all life phases and also in longterm follow-ups. In women, the tracking was lower and in many cases non-significant. Among both sexes, stability seems to be lower in early childhood than in adolescence or in adulthood and lower in transitional phases, such as from childhood to adolescence or from adolescence to adulthood, than in adulthood. However, the differences in the stability of physical activity between age groups and between different phases of life were small. The number of tracking studies utilising objective methods to measure physical activity was so small that systematic differences in stability between self-report and objective methods could not be determined. A factor which caused differences in tracking results was the adjustment of correlations for measurement error and other error variance. Adjusted coefficients were clearly higher than unadjusted ones. However, adjustment was done only in very few studies. If the different methods used for estimating habitual physical activity and the failure to control for important covariates in studies of tracking are taken into account, physical activity appears to track reasonably well also in the longer term, for example from adolescence to adulthood. The results of the tracking studies support the idea that the enhancement of physical activity in children and adolescents is of great importance for the promotion of public health.


 Outline


 goto top of outline Key Words

  • Tracking
  • Obesity
  • Physical activity
  • Childhood
  • Adulthood

 goto top of outline Summary

The aim of the article was to review studies on the tracking of physical activity in all phases of life from childhood to late adulthood. The majority of the studies have been published since 2000. The follow-up time in most studies was short, the median being 9 years. In men, the stability of physical activity was significant but low or moderate during all life phases and also in longterm follow-ups. In women, the tracking was lower and in many cases non-significant. Among both sexes, stability seems to be lower in early childhood than in adolescence or in adulthood and lower in transitional phases, such as from childhood to adolescence or from adolescence to adulthood, than in adulthood. However, the differences in the stability of physical activity between age groups and between different phases of life were small. The number of tracking studies utilising objective methods to measure physical activity was so small that systematic differences in stability between self-report and objective methods could not be determined. A factor which caused differences in tracking results was the adjustment of correlations for measurement error and other error variance. Adjusted coefficients were clearly higher than unadjusted ones. However, adjustment was done only in very few studies. If the different methods used for estimating habitual physical activity and the failure to control for important covariates in studies of tracking are taken into account, physical activity appears to track reasonably well also in the longer term, for example from adolescence to adulthood. The results of the tracking studies support the idea that the enhancement of physical activity in children and adolescents is of great importance for the promotion of public health.

Copyright © 2009 S. Karger AG, Basel


 goto top of outline Author Contacts

Risto Telama, Department of Sport Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Keltavuokko 4 C, 40520 Jyväskyla, Finland, Tel. +358 50-5623737, risto.telama@sport.jyu.fi


 goto top of outline Article Information

Published online: June 12, 2009
Number of Print Pages : 9


 goto top of outline Publication Details

Obesity Facts (The European Journal of Obesity)

Vol. 2, No. 3, Year 2009 (Cover Date: July 2009)

Journal Editor: Hebebrand J. (Essen)
ISSN: 1662-4025 (Print), eISSN: 1662-4033 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/OFA


Copyright / Drug Dosage / Disclaimer

Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher or, in the case of photocopying, direct payment of a specified fee to the Copyright Clearance Center.
Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in goverment regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.

Abstract

The aim of the article was to review studies on the tracking of physical activity in all phases of life from childhood to late adulthood. The majority of the studies have been published since 2000. The follow-up time in most studies was short, the median being 9 years. In men, the stability of physical activity was significant but low or moderate during all life phases and also in longterm follow-ups. In women, the tracking was lower and in many cases non-significant. Among both sexes, stability seems to be lower in early childhood than in adolescence or in adulthood and lower in transitional phases, such as from childhood to adolescence or from adolescence to adulthood, than in adulthood. However, the differences in the stability of physical activity between age groups and between different phases of life were small. The number of tracking studies utilising objective methods to measure physical activity was so small that systematic differences in stability between self-report and objective methods could not be determined. A factor which caused differences in tracking results was the adjustment of correlations for measurement error and other error variance. Adjusted coefficients were clearly higher than unadjusted ones. However, adjustment was done only in very few studies. If the different methods used for estimating habitual physical activity and the failure to control for important covariates in studies of tracking are taken into account, physical activity appears to track reasonably well also in the longer term, for example from adolescence to adulthood. The results of the tracking studies support the idea that the enhancement of physical activity in children and adolescents is of great importance for the promotion of public health.



 goto top of outline Author Contacts

Risto Telama, Department of Sport Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Keltavuokko 4 C, 40520 Jyväskyla, Finland, Tel. +358 50-5623737, risto.telama@sport.jyu.fi


 goto top of outline Article Information

Published online: June 12, 2009
Number of Print Pages : 9


 goto top of outline Publication Details

Obesity Facts (The European Journal of Obesity)

Vol. 2, No. 3, Year 2009 (Cover Date: July 2009)

Journal Editor: Hebebrand J. (Essen)
ISSN: 1662-4025 (Print), eISSN: 1662-4033 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/OFA


Copyright / Drug Dosage

Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher or, in the case of photocopying, direct payment of a specified fee to the Copyright Clearance Center.
Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in goverment regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.