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Background:

The purpose of this study was to describe the pedometer-determined physical activity levels of American youth.

Methods:

A secondary analysis of six existing data sets including 1839 (1046 females, 793 males; ages 6 to 18) school-aged, predominantly white subjects from the southwest US. Grade clusters for elementary (grades 1 to 3), upper elementary (grades 4 to 6), middle school (grades 7 to 9), and high school (grades 10 to 12) were created for statistical analysis.

Results:

Males in grades 1 to 3 and 4 to 6 accumulated significantly more steps/d (13,110 ± 2870 and 13,631 ± 3463, respectively; P < 0.001) than males in grades 7 to 9 and 10 to 12 (11,082 ± 3437 and 10,828 ± 3241). Females in grades 1 to 3 and 4 to 6 accumulated significantly more steps/d (11,120 ± 2553 and 11,125 ± 2923; P < 0.001) than females in grades 7 to 9 and 10 to 12 (10,080 ± 2990 and 9706 ± 3051).

Conclusions:

Results are consistent with those reported for other objective assessments of youth activity indicating that males are typically more active than females and physical activity is less prevalent among secondary school youth than those in elementary school. Pedometer-determined physical activity levels of youth, including secondary school youth, are higher than reported for adult populations.

Le Masurier is with the Dept of Kinesiology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802. Beighle is with the College of Education, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506. Corbin is with the Dept of Exercise and Wellness, Arizona State University, Mesa, AZ 85212. Darst and Pangrazi are with the Dept of Kinesiology, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287. Morgan is with the Dept of Kinesiology and Leisure Science, University of Hawaii, Manoa, Honolulu, HI 96822. Wilde is with Paradise Valley Community College, Phoenix, AZ 85032. Vincent is with the College of Health and Human Performance, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602.