Are Current Body Mass Index Referenced Pedometer Step-Count Recommendations Applicable to US Youth?

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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The purpose of this study was to cross-validate international BMI-referenced steps/d cut points for US girls (12,000 steps/d) and boys (15,000 steps/d) 6 to 12 years of age.


Secondary pedometer-determined physical activity data from US children (N = 1067; 633 girls and 434 boys, 6 to 12 years) were analyzed. Using international BMI classifications, cross-validation of the 12,000 and 15,000 steps/d cut points was examined by the classification precision, sensitivity, and specificity for each age–sex stratum.


For girls (boys) 6 to 12 years, the 12,000 (15,000) steps/d cut points correctly classified 42% to 60% (38% to 67%) as meeting (achieved steps/d cut point and healthy weight) and failing (did not achieve steps/d cut point and overweight). Sensitivity ranged from 55% to 85% (64% to 100%); specificity ranged from 23% to 62% (19% to 50%).


The utility of pedometer steps/d cut points was minimal in this sample given their inability to differentiate among children who failed to achieve the recommended steps/d and exhibited an unhealthy weight. Caution, therefore, should be used in applying previous steps/d cut points to US children.

Beets is with the Dept of Exercise Science, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208. Le Masurier is with the Dept of Physical Education, Malaspina University-College, Nanaimo, BC, Canada V9R 5S5. Beighle is with the College of Education, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506. Rowe is with the Dept of Sport, Culture and the Arts, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow G13 1PP, Scotland. Morgan is with the Dept of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA 92182. Rutherford is with the Dept of Exercise and Sport Science, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, KY 40475. Wright is with the Dept of Kinesiology and Health Science, Sacramento State, Sacramento, CA 95819. Darst is with Arizona State University-Polytechnic Campus, Dept of Physical Education, Mesa, AZ 85212. Pangrazi is with Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287.