ASPPH logo


Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

South Carolina: Researchers Study Changes in Children’s Sleep and Physical Activity During Breaks from School

A team of researchers from the University of North Carolina Arnold School of Public Health recently published results from a study examining changes in children’s sleep and physical activity during a 1-week versus 3-week break from school. The paper was published in the journal, Sleep, with Dr. Glenn Weaver, assistant professor of exercise science serving as lead author.

In this study, the researchers collected sleep and physical activity data on 154 elementary children over seven weeks that included a 1-week break at two schools and a 3-week break in a single school. The participants were ages 5-9, with 44.8 percent female and 65.5 percent African American. Dr. Weaver and his team used regression models to estimate sleep and physical activity changes within and between groups (i.e. 1-week vs. 3-weeks) during school and school break weeks.

The authors found that compared to school weeks, bed times shifted 72.7 and 75.4 minutes later on weekdays during the 1-week and 3-week break, respectively. Wake times shifted 111.6 and 99.8 minutes later on weekdays during 1-week and 3-week breaks. On weekdays during the 3-week break, children engaged in 33.1 more sedentary minutes and -12.2 fewer moderate-to-vigorous physical activity minutes/day.

The team did not observe statistically significant changes in children’s sedentary, light, or moderate-to-vigorous physical activity minutes on weekdays during the 1-week break. Between-group differences in the change in time sedentary and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity were observed.

Read more