Research has suggested a trend of decreasing activity with age necessitating a renewed emphasis on promoting physical activity for children. The purpose of this study was to assess current physical activity levels of children and to establish initial standards for comparison in determining appropriate activity levels of children based on pedometer counts. Children, 6–12 years old (N = 711), wore sealed pedometers for 4 consecutive days. Mean step counts ranged from 10,479–11,274 and 12300–13989 for girls and boys respectively. Factorial ANOVA found a significant difference between sex (F = 90.16, p < .01) but not among age (F = 0.78, p = .587). Great individual variability existed among children of the same sex. Further analysis found significant differences among children of the same sex above the 80th percentile and below the 20th percentile. A reasonable activity standard might be approximately 11,000 and 13,000 steps per day for girls and boys respectively, although further discussion of this is warranted. The descriptive nature of this study provides insights into the activity patterns of children and the mean step counts for boys and girls at each age can serve as a preliminary guide for determining meaningful activity levels for children based on pedometer counts.
S.D. Vincent is with the Department of Physical Education, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT; R.P. Pangrazi with the Department of Kinesiology, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ.