Physical activity and obesity in children - several international observational projects

Childhood obesity is a public health problem globally as well as in Sweden. Further research is required in order to better understand the role of dietary behaviours and physical activity in children in this development.

Our research group are involved in several international projects studying physical activity in children. Firstly, “The Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance” (AHKGA) is a network of researchers, health professionals and stakeholders who are working together to increase physical activity in children and youth from around the world. The AHKGA network has produced global summits on data on physical activity in children and adolescents in 2014, 2016 and 2018. The network has grown from 15 countries in 2014 to 49 countries in 2018.

A picture of the front page of the Swedish Report Card report presented in 2018. A mother playing with her child in the waterfront
The Swedish Report Card report, 2018.

The global summits have been important for policy makers, researchers, and various stakeholders to identify and assess problem areas as well as intervene in appropriate ways. The Active Healthy Kids Swedish working group was established in 2015 (led by Marie Löf) and reviews and compiles the most recent available literature for Swedish children and youth, and assign grades to 11 indicators with the AHKGA global summits:

  • overall physical activity
  • sedentary behaviour
  • organised sport participation
  • active transportation
  • school
  • community and the built environment
  • government strategies and investments
  • active play
  • family and peers
  • diet
  • overweight and obesity

The next summit is scheduled to the autumn of 2021. Our group also is also responsible for data collection in Swedish four-year-olds in the SUNRISE study which is an international study of movement behaviours in the early years. Data collection for the pilot study in Sweden was completed in 2019.