Measurement of Walking Activity Throughout Childhood: Influence of Leg Length

in Pediatric Exercise Science
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The aim of this study was to describe walking (stride) activity frequency and intensity in 428 children ages 2–15 years with a single accelerometer-based device. With comparison with published pedometer-determined data, the influence of leg length was examined. Decline in stride frequency and intensity throughout childhood increased with adjustment for leg length. The accelerometer-based device documented higher stride counts than published pedometer-based data with the greatest discrepancy in 4–5 year olds. Recommended walking levels for optimal weight throughout childhood should be examined with knowledge of the device measurement differences and the natural history of walking activity changes with age.

Bjornson and Zhou are with Seattle Children’s Research Institute, Seattle, WA. Song, Robinson, Killien, and Barrett are with Seattle Children’s Hospital, Seattle, WA. Lisle is with FAHC Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation Medicine, South Burlington, VT.