24-hour movement behaviors among US adolescents: a cross-sectional analysis using time diary data Open Access

Behringer, Hannah (Spring 2022)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/6w924d23p?locale=en



The benefits of physical activity (PA) during adolescence are well-documented, and sedentary behavior (SB) has been established as a risk factor independent of PA. In the context of the movement continuum, this study aims to characterize and evaluate correlates of activity patterns from sleep to moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Durations of activity types within movement categories were also examined.  


Time diary data from 631 adolescents (10-18 years of age) participating in the 2014 Child Development Supplement wave of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics were used. Participants completed open-ended, 24-hour time-use surveys for one weekday and weekend day. Activities were categorized into groups, and metabolic equivalent of task (MET) values were assigned to each group, informing assignment to SB, light physical activity (LPA), or MVPA. Total daily energy expenditures (TDEE) and durations of each activity category were calculated. Multiple linear regression was used to examine associations between demographic characteristics and movement behaviors. 


Average TDEE was 1423 MET-minutes for weekday and 1457 for weekend days, and MVPA levels were 69 and 139 minutes, respectively. Durations of SB were 677 minutes for weekday and 466 for weekend data. Significant gender differences were limited for broad movement categories, but girls spent more time lying (20 vs. 8 minutes for weekday). Boys consistently reported more time playing computer games (16 vs. 68 minutes for weekday) and sports/games (11 vs. 29 minutes for weekday). Differences by age group were observed for sleep and SB, and lower activity levels were observed among Black adolescents, particularly girls. There were also gender differences in the directions of associations of both income and weight with activity levels.


Overall, 24-hour movement behaviors among US adolescents aligned with guidelines, but disparities were present, including lower activity levels among Black adolescents. Gender and age differences in duration of types of activities such as sports and computer games suggest variation in how activity duration is accumulated. Future research is needed to clarify these associations, which may inform development of targeted interventions for reducing SB and increasing PA, such as addressing barriers to sports participation among girls.

Table of Contents


Background 1

Study Objectives and Significance 3


Movement Continuum 4

Importance of Physical Activity 4

Physical Health 4

Mental Health 6

Health Implications of Sedentary Behavior 8

Adolescent Activity Patterns in the United States 9

Current Guidelines and Adherence 9

Temporal trends 10

Age 11

Gender 12

Race and Ethnicity 13

Socioeconomic Status 13

Weight and Weight Perception 14

Other Factors 15

Measuring Physical Activity 16

Objective Methods 16

Self-report and Observational Methods 18

Utility and Benefits of Time-Use Surveys 20

Metabolic Equivalent of Task 21

Conceptual Framework 21

Activity Among US Adolescents 21

Factors Influencing Adolescent Physical Activity Levels 22

Study Objectives 24

Visual Representation of Conceptual Framework 24


Data 25

Data Source and Study Population 25

Data Collection 26

Variables 27

Demographics 27

Time Diaries 29

Data Preparation and Cleaning 29

Analytic Sample 29

Activity Classification and MET assignment 30

Statistical Analyses 31

Descriptive Statistics 31

Analyses of Movement Patterns 31


Descriptive Statistics 33

Movement Patterns 33

Total Daily Energy Expenditure 33

Sleep 34

Sedentary Time 35

Light Physical Activity 36

Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity 36

Stratified Analyses 38

Total Daily Energy Expenditure 38

Sleep Duration 38

Sedentary Time 39

Light Physical Activity Duration 39

Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity Duration 40


Main Findings 41

Limitations and Future Directions 46

Strengths 47

Conclusions & Public Health Implications 48



Table 1. Weighted characteristics of US adolescents 57

Table 2. Mean total daily energy expenditure (MET-min) and duration of daily weekday and weekend activities (min/day) among US adolescents 58

Figures 1 and 2. Average 24-hour activity behavior composition of US adolescents 58

Table 3. Mean total daily energy expenditure (MET-min) and duration of weekday activities (min/day) among US adolescents by gender 59

Table 4. Mean total daily energy expenditure (MET-min) and duration of weekday activities (min/day) among US adolescents by age group 60

Tables 5-9. Correlates of mean weekday and weekend activity categories among US adolescents 61

Tables 10-14. Correlates of mean weekday and weekend activity categories among US adolescents, stratified by gender 66


Table A1. Unweighted characteristics 71

Table A2. Weighted characteristics by gender and age 73

Table A3. Correlates of mean weekday and weekend travel time 75

About this Master's Thesis

Rights statement
  • Permission granted by the author to include this thesis or dissertation in this repository. All rights reserved by the author. Please contact the author for information regarding the reproduction and use of this thesis or dissertation.
Subfield / Discipline
  • English
Research Field
Committee Chair / Thesis Advisor
Last modified

Primary PDF

Supplemental Files