Preschool to School-Age Physical Activity Trajectories and School-Age Physical Literacy: A Longitudinal Analysis Academic Article uri icon

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  • Purpose: The associations between longitudinal physical activity (PA) patterns across childhood and physical literacy have not been studied. The purpose of this study was to identify PA trajectories from preschool to school-age, and to determine if trajectory group membership was associated with school-age physical literacy. Methods: Participants (n = 279, 4.5 [0.9] y old, 48% girls) enrolled in this study and completed annual assessments of PA with accelerometry over 6 timepoints. Physical literacy was assessed at timepoint 6 (10.8 [1.0] y old). Group-based trajectory analysis was applied to identify trajectories of total volume of PA and of moderate to vigorous PA and to estimate group differences in physical literacy. Results: Three trajectories of total volume of PA and of moderate to vigorous PA were identified. Groups 1 (lowest PA) included 40% to 53% of the sample, groups 2 included 39% to 44% of the sample, and groups 3 (highest PA) included 8% to 16% of the sample. All trajectories declined from timepoint 1 to timepoint 6. School-age physical literacy was lowest in trajectory groups with the lowest total volume of PA or moderate to vigorous PA over time (P < .05). Conclusions: PA should be promoted across early and middle childhood, as it may play a formative role in the development of school-age physical literacy.


  • Caldwell, Hilary AT
  • Proudfoot, Nicole A
  • DiCristofaro, Natascja A
  • Cairney, John
  • Bray, Steven R
  • Timmons, Brian

publication date

  • April 1, 2022