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Are School Children in Norway Fit and Active? A cross-sectional survey

Elisabeth Gløersen Prøsch, 2017


Study Design: A cross-sectional questionnaire survey administered to children in a Norwegian school-setting.


Objectives: First, it investigated a population of Norwegian school-aged children from 9 years of age to 16 years of age to see how much physical activity and sedentary behaviour they engaged in daily and weekly. Second, it considered potential differences between the ages and genders. Third, it explored a possible association between the level of PA and SB to neck pain or back pain.


Methods: The subjects were 125 males and 105 females, a total of 230 school-aged children, from 9-16 years of age, located at Bjørnsletta school in Norway. The subjects completed a questionnaire by themselves. The questionnaire was adapted to meet the exact needs of the research questions, and to ensure that the subjects understood exactly what they were being asked. The questionnaire included items that investigated the subjects´ physical activity, sedentary behaviour and the frequency of any experienced neck or back pain during the last 6 months. The children were given multiple choices for each question.


Results: On average, 9-, 13-, 14- and 16- year olds spent 4 hours daily of physical activity, 10 year olds were active 4 hours daily and 15 year olds 3 hours daily. For sedentary behaviour, 9 year olds spent on average 5 hours sedentary daily, 10 year olds spent 6 hours sedentary daily and 14-16 year olds devoted 7 hours daily sedentary. It was no statistical significant difference in the physical activity level nor the level of sedentary behaviour among the ages and genders in the sample. The prevalence of neck pain and/or back pain among the subjects was high. The odds ratio for sedentary behaviour and neck pain was 2.79, indicating that the odds of neck pain is higher for children who are sedentary more than 6 hours per day than those who are not. The odds ratio for SB and back pain was 2.75, indicating that the odds of back pain is higher for children who are sedentary more than 6 hours per day than those who are not. Both reached statistical significance. The association between neck – and back pain level of physical activity did not reach statistical significance.


Conclusion: School-aged children between 9-16 years of age followed the daily recommendation of 60 minutes daily PA, but exceeded the recommended level of SB by a threefold to what is recommended. This study showed no statistical significant difference in the sedentary level or activity level between the ages or genders. Neck pain and back pain was prevalent in school-aged children. A high level of SB (> 6 hours per day) was shown, with statistical significance, to have an association to both self-reported neck pain and back pain among school-aged children from 9-16 years of age. This is evidence that children should not be too much sedentary less they risk experiencing neck- and/or back pain.

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