Daily Physical Activity Patterns of Children Living in an American Indian Community

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Embracing a physically active lifestyle is especially important for American Indian (AI) children who are at a greater risk for hypokinetic diseases, particularly Type 2 diabetes. The purpose of this study was to describe AI children’s pedometer-determined physical activity (PA) segmented into prominent daily activity patterns.


Participants included 5th- and 6th-grade children (N = 77) attending school from 1 Southwestern US AI community. Children wore a pedometer (Yamax Digiwalker SW-200) for 7 consecutive days.


Boys accumulated 12,621 (±5385) steps/weekday and girls accumulated 11,640 (±3695) steps/weekday of which 38% (4,779 ± 1271) and 35% (4,027 ± 1285) were accumulated at school for boys and girls, respectively. Physical education (PE) provided the single largest source of PA during school for both boys (25% or 3117 steps/day) and girls (23% or 2638 steps/day). Lunchtime recess provided 1612 (13%) and 1241 (11%) steps/day for boys and girls, respectively. Children were significantly less active on weekend days, accumulating 8066 ± 1959 (boys) and 6676 ± 1884 (girls).


Although children accumulate a majority of their steps outside of school, this study highlights the important contribution of PE to the overall PA accumulation of children living in AI communities. Further, PA programming during the weekend appears to be important for this population.

Brusseau is with the Dept of Exercise and Sport Science, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT. Kulinna is with the Dept of Physical Education, Arizona State University–Polytechnic, Mesa, AZ. Tudor-Locke is with the Walking Behavior Laboratory, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, LA. Ferry is with the Dept of Education and Human Development, George Mason University, Manassas, VA.