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Nathan P. Dawkins, Tom Yates, Cameron Razieh, Charlotte L. Edwardson, Ben Maylor, Francesco Zaccardi, Kamlesh Khunti, and Alex V. Rowlands

Background: Physical activity and sleep are important for health; whether device-measured physical activity and sleep differ by ethnicity is unclear. This study aimed to compare physical activity and sleep/rest in white, South Asian (SA), and black adults by age. Methods: Physical activity and sleep/rest quality were assessed using accelerometer data from UK Biobank. Linear regressions, stratified by sex, were used to analyze differences in activity and sleep/rest. An ethnicity × age group interaction term was used to assess whether ethnic differences were consistent across age groups. Results: Data from 95,914 participants, aged 45–79 years, were included. Overall activity was 7% higher in black, and 5% lower in SA individuals compared with white individuals. Minority ethnic groups had poorer sleep/rest quality. Lower physical activity and poorer sleep quality occurred at a later age in black and SA adults (>65 y), than white adults (>55 y). Conclusions: While black adults are more active, and SA adults less active, than white adults, the age-related reduction appears to be delayed in black and SA adults. Sleep/rest quality is poorer in black and SA adults than in white adults. Understanding ethnic differences in physical activity and rest differ may provide insight into chronic conditions with differing prevalence across ethnicities.

Open access

Mark W. Orme, Phoebe H.I. Lloyd-Evans, Akila R. Jayamaha, Winceslaus Katagira, Bruce Kirenga, Ilaria Pina, Andrew P. Kingsnorth, Ben Maylor, Sally J. Singh, and Alex V. Rowlands

Albert Einstein taught us that “everything is relative.” People’s experience of physical activity (PA) is no different, with “relativism” particularly pertinent to the perception of intensity. Markers of absolute and relative intensities of PA have different but complimentary utilities, with absolute intensity considered best for PA guideline adherence and relative intensity for personalized exercise prescription. Under the paradigm of exercise and PA as medicine, our Technical Note proposes a method of synchronizing accelerometry with the incremental shuttle walking test to facilitate description of the intensity of the free-living PA profile in absolute and relative terms. Our approach is able to generate and distinguish “can do” or “cannot do” (based on exercise capacity) and “does do” or “does not do” (based on relative intensity PA) classifications in a chronic respiratory disease population, facilitating the selection of potential appropriate individually tailored interventions. By synchronizing direct assessments of exercise capacity and PA, clearer insights into the intensity of PA performed during everyday life can be gleaned. We believe the next steps are as follows: (1) to determine the feasibility and effectiveness of using relative and absolute intensities in combination to personalize the approach, (2) to determine its sensitivity to change following interventions (eg, exercise-based rehabilitation), and (3) to explore the use of this approach in healthier populations and in other long-term conditions.