School of Medicine Publications and Presentations

Quantitative physical activity assessment of children and adolescents in a rural population from Eastern Nepal

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We report cross-sectional, objectively measured physical activity data for 399 children and adolescents aged 6 to 18 years. We evaluated physical activity of children and adolescents, considered time spent in each activity intensity category, and explored the impact of growth disruption (stunting and wasting) on physical activity patterns.


Participants wore an Actical (Mini-Mitter, Bend, OR) omnidirectional accelerometer for one week as part of their annual visit to the Jiri Growth Study. The percentage of time spent in standard activity intensities were computed using standard metabolic equivalents (METS) cutpoints and compared by chronological age, sex, and school versus non-school days.


Primary findings include (1) children are more active on non-school days and adolescents are more active during the school week; (2) Jirel children do not exhibit the reduction in physical activity that most Western populations experience during the transition from childhood to adolescence; and (3) Jirel children and adolescents routinely meet the suggested one hour/day MVPA threshold; (4) Stunting is prevalent and factors leading to this growth disruption may contribute to the amount of time in sedentary or light physical activity.


We report child and adolescent physical activity patterns from the Jirel population of eastern Nepal. In this rural context, children and adolescents are more active than populations reported from Western contexts. This key finding has important biomedical implications for the maintenance of healthy body composition, skeletal health, and other health traits. Am. J. Hum. Biol. 28:129–137, 2016.


© 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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American Journal of Human Biology



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