University Of Tasmania
Cleland09_SEP&PA_AmJEpid.pdf (96.09 kB)
Download file

Socioeconomic Position and the Tracking of Physical Activity and Cardiorespiratory Fitness From Childhood to Adulthood

Download (96.09 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 07:43 authored by Verity ClelandVerity Cleland, Ball, K, Costan MagnussenCostan Magnussen, Dwyer, T, Alison VennAlison Venn
This study examined the influence of childhood socioeconomic position (SEP) and social mobility on activity and fitness tracking from childhood into adulthood. In a prospective cohort of 2,185 Australian adults (aged 26–36 years), first examined in 1985 (at ages 7–15 years), self-reported physical activity and cardiorespiratory fitness (subsample only) were measured. SEP measures included retrospectively reported parental education (baseline) and own education (follow-up). There was little evidence of a relation between childhood SEP and activity tracking, but high childhood SEP (maternal education) was associated with a 59% increased likelihood of persistent fitness, and medium childhood SEP (paternal and parental education) was associated with a 33%–36% decreased likelihood of persistent fitness. Upward social mobility was associated with a greater likelihood of increasing activity (38%–49%) and fitness (90%), and persistently high SEP was associated with a greater likelihood of increasing activity (males: 58%) and fitness (males and females combined: 89%). In conclusion, persistently high SEP and upward social mobility were associated with increases in activity and fitness from childhood to adulthood. Findings highlight socioeconomic differentials in activity and fitness patterns and suggest that improvements in education may represent a pathway through which physical activity levels can be increased and health benefits achieved.


Publication title

American Journal of Epidemiology










Menzies Institute for Medical Research


Oxford Univ Press Inc

Place of publication

Journals Dept, 2001 Evans Rd, Cary, USA, Nc, 27513

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Behaviour and health