University of Oulu

Tikanmäki, M., Tammelin, T., Kaseva, N., Sipola-Leppänen, M., Matinolli, H.-M., Hakonen, H., … Kajantie, E. (2016). Objectively measured physical activity and sedentary time in young adults born preterm—The ESTER study. Pediatric Research, 81(4), 550–555.

Objectively measured physical activity and sedentary time in young adults born preterm : the ESTER study

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Author: Tikanmäki, Marjaana1,2; Tammelin, Tuija3; Kaseva, Nina1;
Organizations: 1Department of Health, Chronic Disease Prevention Unit, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Oulu and Helsinki, Finland
2Institute of Health Sciences, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
3LIKES Research Center for Physical Activity and Health, Jyväskylä, Finland
4PEDEGO Research Unit (Research Unit for Pediatrics, Dermatology, Clinical Genetics, Obstetrics and Gynecology), Medical Research Center Oulu (MRC Oulu), Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
5Department of Sport Medicine, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Oslo, Norway
6Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland
7Folkhälsan Research Center, Helsinki, Finland
8Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, MRC–PHE Centre for Environment & Health, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, United Kingdom
9Faculty of Medicine, Center for Life Course Epidemiology, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
10Biocenter Oulu, Oulu, Finland
11Unit of Primary Care, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
12Department of Welfare, Children, Adolescents and Families Unit, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Oulu, Finland
13Children’s Hospital, Helsinki University Hospital, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.3 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2017
Publish Date: 2019-09-23


Background: Young adults born preterm have higher levels of cardio metabolic risk factors and they report less physical activity than their peers born at term. Physical activity provides important cardio metabolic health benefits. We hypothesized that objectively measured physical activity levels are lower and time spent sedentary is higher among preterm-born individuals compared with controls.

Methods: We studied unimpaired participants of the ESTER birth cohort study at age 23.3 y (SD: 1.2): 60 born early preterm (<34 wk), 108 late preterm (34–36 wk), and 178 at term (controls). Physical activity and sedentary time were measured by hip-worn accelerometer (ActiGraph).

Results: As compared with controls’ (mean physical activity, 303 counts per minute (cpm; SD 129)), physical activity was similar among adults born early preterm (mean difference = 21 cpm, 95% CI −61, 19) or late preterm (5 cpm, −27, 38). Time spent sedentary was also similar. Adjustments for early life confounders or current mediating characteristics did not change the results.

Conclusion: In contrast to our hypothesis, we found no difference in objectively measured physical activity or time spent sedentary between adults born preterm and at term. The previously reported differences may be limited to physical activity captured by self-report.

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Series: Pediatric research
ISSN: 0031-3998
ISSN-E: 1530-0447
ISSN-L: 0031-3998
Volume: 81
Issue: 4
Pages: 550 - 555
DOI: 10.1038/pr.2016.262
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3123 Gynaecology and paediatrics
Funding: The ESTER Study was supported by grants from the Academy of Finland (SALVE program for 2009–2012 and grants 127437, 129306, 130326, 134791, and 263924 to EK), Doctoral Programme for Public Health, University of Tampere (to MSL), the Emil Aaltonen Foundation (to EK), European Commission (Framework 5 award QLG1-CT-2000-001643; to MRJ), the Finnish Foundation for Pediatric Research (to EK), the Finnish Government Special Subsidiary for Health Sciences (evo) (to JGE), Finnish Medical Societies: Duodecim (to EK) and Finska Läkaresällskapet (to JGE and NK), the Jalmari and Rauha Ahokas Foundation (to EK), the Juho Vainio Foundation (to EK and MSL), the National Graduate School of Clinical Investigation (to MT), the Novo Nordisk Foundation (to EK and MV), the Signe and Ane Gyllenberg Foundation (to EK and JGE), the Sigrid Jusélius Foundation (to EK), and the Yrjö Jahnsson Foundation (EK, MSL, and MV). The supporters of the study had no role in the study design; the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; the writing of the report; and the decision to submit the paper for publication.
Copyright information: © 2017 International Pediatric Research Foundation, Inc. This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Pediatric Research. The final authenticated version is available online at: