Patrick Banney, a 3rd year physiotherapy student at the ACU School of Physiotherapy Banyo campus, was a successful recipient of an ACU Faculty of Health Sciences undergraduate Vacation Scholarship in 2015. The Scholarship allowed Patrick to join an ACU School of Physiotherapy research group investigating physical activity in childhood. Patrick’s conference paper: “Are physical activity levels related to a child’s functional capacity or development?” was awarded Best Student Paper at the recent 2015 Australian Physiotherapy Association Conference.
Patrick’s research involved accelerometry and parent and self-report measures of activity of typically developing pre-teen children. Measures of the functional capacity and maturity of walking pattern were also taken to investigate if there was a relationship between time spent in sedentary activities versus activities with moderate to vigorous levels of exertion and a child’s functional capacity and development.
In his Vacation Scholarship report Patrick discussed the significance of this research:
“Numerous advertising campaigns targeted at adults and children have aimed to raise awareness about the health benefits of regular physical activity, a balanced diet and most recently minimising sedentary behaviour. Despite these campaigns, recent data shows a continual decline in the amount of adults, and more worryingly children, participating in the recommended amount of physical activity each day. According to the Australian Bureau of statistics in 2012, only 1 in 3 children were meeting the requirements of 60 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity and less than 1 in 3 were meeting the requirements for minimising screen time to under 2 hours per day. These statistics are of particular concern given the well documented relationship between reduced physical activity and increased sedentary behaviour and the development of cardio-metabolic risk factors in children. Research is required into accurate reliable measures of physical activity (PA) so at risk populations can be identified. Monitoring the amount of physical activity performed by children under the age of 12 has proven challenging.”
Patrick’s work has made a contribution to this challenge in identifying that while self-report and parent report are likely to disagree for any particular individual, parent or child self-report gives an accurate estimate of the level of sedentary activity across a population of 8-12 year old typically developing children. The research has also highlighted a need to develop consensus regarding accelerometry classification of moderate and vigorous levels of activity as current guidelines for accelerometry are not related to functional outcomes in typically developing pre-teen children.