Physical Activity Intensity Distribution during Physical Education among Swedish Upper Secondary School Students

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Julius Gerth, Anders Raustorp & Andreas Fröberg
Department of Food and Nutrition, and Sport Science,
University of Gothenburg, Sweden


Background: Physical education (PE) has been identified as a potentially powerful domain to promote physical activity (PA) among school-aged youth. In Sweden, there is a lack of studies investigating PA intensity distribution during PE among upper secondary school student.

Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate PA intensity distribution during PE among Swedish upper secondary school students.

Methods: PA was measured during 41 PE lessons among 121 (n = 75 boys) Swedish upper secondary school students (ages 16-18 years) using hip-mounted objective activity monitors from ActiGraph™ (GT3X+ accelerometers).

Results: The participants spent a median of 23% of the PE lessons time being sedentary, 17% in light PA (LPA), and 59% in moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA). There were no differences between boys and girls for neither sedentary (p = .185), LPA (p = .377), or MVPA (p = .839). Sedentary (p = .001) and LPA (p < .0001) were lower and MVPA (p < .0001) higher during fitness-related activities when compared to invasion games.

Conclusion: A median of 59% of the PEL time was spent in MVPA which is relatively high in an international comparison. No differences were observed between boys and girls. Fitness-related activities contributed to higher MVPA when compared to invasion games.


Click here to read this peer reviewed article in Scandinavian Sport Studies Forum, Vol. 10, 2019


JULIUS GERTH has an MA in Upper Secondary Education: Physical Education and Health and History. He also has a BSc with a major in Sport Science. He is currently working as a primary school teacher of Physical Education and Health in Gothenburg.

ANDERS RAUSTORP is Professor in Health Promotion Physical Activity at University of Gothenburg. His research concerns monitoring physical activity and perceived physical self-esteem. It includes unique longitudinal data (17 y) and tracking data of objectively measured physical activity. In Anders over 40 scientifically publications, ranging medical, educational and public health areas, a special interest have been given to youth´s physical activity and built environment (i.e. school yards). Current project focuses on climate change and pre-schoolers physical activity.

ANDREAS FRÖBERG is a certified Physical Education and Health teacher and has an MSc and PhD in Sport Science. He is currently employed as a senior lecturer at the Department of Food and Nutrition, and Sport Science, University of Gothenburg, where he teaches at the Physical Education and Health teacher education program and the Health Promotion program.


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