International Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 171–179 | Cite as

Does Childhood Temperamental Activity Predict Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior over a 30-Year Period? Evidence from the Young Finns Study

  • Xiaolin Yang
  • Kaisa Kaseva
  • Liisa Keltikangas-Järvinen
  • Laura Pulkki-Råback
  • Mirja Hirvensalo
  • Markus Jokela
  • Mirka Hintsanen
  • Taina Hintsa
  • Anna Kankaanpää
  • Risto Telama
  • Nina Hutri-Kähönen
  • Jorma S. A. Viikari
  • Olli T. Raitakari
  • Tuija Tammelin



We examined associations between childhood temperamental activity, physical activity (PA), and television (TV) viewing over a 30-year period.


The participants (1220 boys and 1237 girls) were aged 3, 6, 9, and 12 years in 1980 and were followed until 2011. Temperamental activity was evaluated by participants’ mothers at baseline. The PA was assessed based on maternal ratings of the child from ages 3 to 6 and via self-report age from the age of 9 across all measurements. TV viewing was assessed using self-reports taken from 2001 to 2011. The associations between temperamental activity and the level and change of PA and TV viewing were determined using linear growth modeling stratified by gender and age group.


High temperamental activity assessed from ages 9 to 12 was associated with high levels of childhood PA in both genders, but with a steeper decline in PA levels during the first 9 years of follow-up in boys. High temperamental activity assessed from ages 3 to 6 was associated with the decline of PA from childhood to youth in girls. High childhood temperamental activity was associated with decreased levels of PA in adulthood in men, but not in women. The associations between childhood temperamental activity and TV viewing during adulthood seemed to be positive but not consistently significant in all age and gender groups.


High temperamental activity may contribute to the development of a physically inactive lifestyle. More evidence is needed with regard to gender differences among participants in similar study settings.


Temperamental activity Physical activity Sedentary behavior Follow-up 



This study was financially supported by the Academy of Finland (grants no. 77841, 210283, 123621 (L.P.-R.), 258578 (M.H.), 121584, 124282), Social Insurance Institution of Finland (O.R., J.S.A.V.), Ministry of Education and Culture (X.Y., K.K.), Turku University Foundation (O.R., J.S.A.V.), Special Federal Grants for Turku University Hospital (O.R., J.S.A.V.), Research Funds of the University of Helsinki (M.H.), Juho Vainio Foundation (L.P.-R., X.Y.), Finnish Foundation of Cardiovascular Research (O.R., J.S.A.V.), Emil Aaltonen Foundation (M.H.), Finnish Medical Foundation, Finnish Cultural Foundation, Yrjö Jahnsson Foundation (O.R., J.S.A.V.), and Urheiluopistosäätiö (K.K.).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000. Informed consent was obtained from all participants for inclusion in the study. For the retrospective study, formal consent was not required.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© International Society of Behavioral Medicine 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiaolin Yang
    • 1
  • Kaisa Kaseva
    • 2
  • Liisa Keltikangas-Järvinen
    • 2
  • Laura Pulkki-Råback
    • 3
    • 4
  • Mirja Hirvensalo
    • 5
  • Markus Jokela
    • 1
  • Mirka Hintsanen
    • 1
  • Taina Hintsa
    • 1
  • Anna Kankaanpää
    • 1
  • Risto Telama
    • 1
    • 5
  • Nina Hutri-Kähönen
    • 6
  • Jorma S. A. Viikari
    • 7
    • 8
  • Olli T. Raitakari
    • 9
    • 10
  • Tuija Tammelin
    • 1
  1. 1.LIKES Research Centre for Physical Activity and HealthJyväskyläFinland
  2. 2.Unit of Personality, Work and Health Psychology, Institute of Behavioral SciencesUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  3. 3.Institute of Behavioral SciencesUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  4. 4.Finnish Institute of Occupational HealthHelsinkiFinland
  5. 5.Department of Sport SciencesUniversity of JyväskyläJyväskyläFinland
  6. 6.Department of PediatricsUniversity of Tampere and Tampere University HospitalTampereFinland
  7. 7.Department of MedicineUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland
  8. 8.Division of MedicineTurku University HospitalTurkuFinland
  9. 9.Department of Clinical Physiology and Nuclear MedicineTurku University HospitalTurkuFinland
  10. 10.Research Centre of Applied and Preventive Cardiovascular MedicineUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland

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