Objective measures, such as accelerometers, are increasingly being used to measure physical activity (PA) levels in children, and the use of validated and reliable instruments is desirable when measuring the effectiveness of programs. The purpose of this study was to determine the validity and reliability of the New Lifestyles NL-1000 accelerometer among preschoolers using a modified version of the Children’s Activity Rating Scale (CARS).
Fourteen preschoolers wore the NL-1000 at their waist while the device measured activity levels [in seconds of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA)]. They were also videoed for approximately 12 minutes while participating in normal activities at an early childhood center. At approximately 2-minute intervals, activity level readings derived from the NL-1000 were recorded. The video footage was analyzed using a modified CARS technique and the CARS scores compared with data obtained from the accelerometer.
Within subject reliability was measured using intraclass correlation coefficients (0.58 for CARS and 0.59 for NL-1000). Furthermore, 95% of the variation in CARS could be explained by variation in the accelerometer counts, with 2.4% of the variation being participant-specific.
The NL-1000 is a sufficiently reliable and valid tool for assessing MVPA in preschoolers.
Liggett, Gray, and McGee are with the Dept of Preventive and Social Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. Parnell is with the Dept of Human Nutrition, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. McKenzie is with the Dept of Active Communities, Sport Southland, Invercargill, New Zealand.