There is evidence of a reduction in children's physical activity in India in the last decade. Our objective was to assess whether size and body composition at birth are associated with physical activity in school-aged children. Children from a prospective observational cohort study born in Mysore, South India between 1997 and 1998 (n = 663) had neonatal anthropometric measurements made within 72 h of delivery [weight, mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC), chest, abdomen and head circumference, crown–heel, crown–buttock and leg length, triceps and subscapular skinfolds]. At 6–10 years, children (n = 449) were asked to wear AM7164 or GT1M Actigraph accelerometers for 7 days. Body composition was measured within 6 months of activity monitoring. Arm muscle area at birth and time of activity monitoring was calculated from MUAC and skinfold measurements.
Activity outcome measures were: mean accelerometer counts per minute (cpm); counts per day and proportion of time spent in moderate and vigorous activity. The mean (s.d.) number of days with ⩾500 min of recorded accelerometer data was 7.0 (1.1). Linear regression models showed no significant associations between any of the neonatal anthropometric measures and the activity variables. Body fat percentage at 7.5 years was negatively associated with all activity variables (B = −4.69, CI: −7.31, −2.07 for mean cpm).
In conclusion, this study showed no associations between body size and skinfold thickness at birth and objectively measured physical activity in childhood.