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Walking Behaviors Reported in the American Time Use Survey 2003–2005

Catrine Tudor-Locke and Sandra A. Ham

Background:

We report walking for shopping, exercise, transportation, and walking the dog, among other sources captured in the 2003 to 2005 American Time Use Survey (ATUS).

Methods:

We extracted and analyzed 8 walking behaviors (by sex, age, education level, and race/ethnicity) from 24 hours of activities recalled by telephone interview for 15,175 males and 19,518 females age ≥15 years.

Results:

On any given day in 2003 to 2005, 45.8% of Americans participated in a median of 45 minutes of any walking activities; 31.6% walked for shopping purposes, 12.5% walked for transportation, 4.8% walked for exercise, and 2.5% walked the dog. College-educated respondents more commonly reported walking while shopping, walking for exercise, and dog walking. Those with less than a high school education more commonly reported walking for transportation.

Conclusions:

Despite limitations identified in imputing explicit and implicit performance of walking behaviors in the ATUS, Americans engage in a wide variety of walking behaviors that are not well represented by surveys focused only on leisure-time behaviors. Public health implications include increased availability of multiple and varied opportunities for walking, especially through environmental shifts toward more walkable places and destinations and policy shifts that support walking behaviors over competing transportation modes.

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Real-World Evaluation of a Community-Based Pedometer Intervention

Catherine B. Chan and Catrine Tudor-Locke

Background:

We evaluated a pedometer-based community intervention under real-world conditions.

Methods:

Participants (n = 559) provided demographic and health information using surveys and steps/d at baseline and during the last week the participants were in the program. A 1-year follow-up was conducted, but in keeping with real-world conditions, no incentives were offered to participate.

Results:

Participants (89% female, age 48.1 [SD = 12] years) took 7864 (3114) steps/d at baseline. Postprogram voluntary response rates to mailed surveys were 41.3% at 12 weeks and 22.8% at 1 year. Program completers reported significantly higher steps/d at 12 weeks (~12,000 steps/d) and 1 year (~11,000 steps/d) compared with baseline.

Conclusions:

The improvement in steps/d in this real-world implementation was consistent with more controlled studies of pedometer-based interventions. Low response to voluntary follow-up is a study limitation but is expected of real-world evaluations.

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Toward Comprehensive Step-Based Physical Activity Guidelines: Are We Ready?

Catrine Tudor-Locke and Elroy J. Aguiar

Step counting is now a widespread and acceptable approach to self-monitoring physical activity courtesy of the recent surge in wearable technologies. Nonetheless, there remains no recommendation for steps/day in federal physical activity guidelines. The authors review current scientific literature to consider evidence regarding the volume, dose (frequency, intensity, duration, timing), and dose-response relationships for step-based metrics, including steps/day (volume), cadence (steps/min; intensity), peak 30-min cadence (steps/min; composite index of frequency, intensity, and duration), and zero cadence (proxy for sedentary behavior). Preliminary evidence suggests that communicating federal physical activity guidelines using step-based metrics could facilitate individuals’ ability to comprehend and achieve a physically active lifestyle.

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Older Adults’ Objectively Monitored Walking Behaviors and the Factors that Shape Them

Catrine Tudor-Locke and Stephanie Broyles

The focus of a physically active lifestyle for older adults is to preserve functional mobility and delay losses associated with decrepitude in later years. Since ambulation is of utmost importance to older adults’ mobility, the purpose of this nonexhaustive review is to consider older adults’ walking behaviors objectively captured as steps/day and the factors that shape them. Summarized evidence currently indicates that apparently healthy older adults accumulate between 2,000–9,000 steps/day and that older adults living with disabilities and/or chronic conditions average approximately 1,200–8,800 steps/day. The scientific body of objectively monitored knowledge focused on potential individual, program, and contextual factors that shape older adults’ walking behaviors expressed as steps/day (i.e., their ability to and practice of getting “out and about”) is infantile at this time. We provide a simple research agenda to spark scholarly efforts to address research gaps and opportunities in the collective knowledge base.

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An Exploratory Analysis of Adherence Patterns and Program Completion of a Pedometer-Based Physical Activity Intervention

Catrine Tudor-Locke and Catherine B. Chan

Background:

We examined participant characteristics related to pedometer program adherence and completion.

Methods:

Participants (n = 177, age = 43 ± 9 y, BMI = 29.5 ± 6.2 kg/m2) were from sedentary workplaces. Baseline steps/day for women (n = 153) was 7230 ± 3447 versus men (n = 24) 8265 ± 2849 (P < 0.05). Records included pedometer use, days/week goals were achieved, and steps/day. Program completers (n = 104) fulfilled pre- and post-program assessments and at least 8 wk of recording. Non-completers (n = 53) met neither requirement, but pre-program data were available.

Results:

There were no significant differences in sex, age, education, or time at work between completion strata. The only significant baseline difference was an initial “worry about completing the program” (completer < non-completer; P < 0.05). The pedometer-based program was most successful in increasing physical activity in overweight or class I obese individuals. Participants with lower baseline steps/day were also more likely to complete the program.

Conclusion:

The study findings have potential to inform effective health promotion planning.

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Time Trends of Step-Determined Physical Activity Among Adolescents With Different Activity Levels in Czech Republic

Karel Frömel, Josef Mitáš, and Catrine Tudor-Locke

Background: This study aimed to present step-determined physical activity trends in adolescents with different activity levels over a period of 10 years. Methods: Pedometers were used to monitor weekly physical activity in 1855 boys and 2648 girls aged 15–19 years recruited from 155 schools in the Czech Republic between 2009 and 2018. Trends for average steps/day and percent of accumulating various levels of steps/day (<10,000, 10,000–13,000, and >13,000 steps/d) were analyzed by sex. Results: There was a statistically significant decrease in average steps/day between 2009–2010 and 2017–2018 in boys from 12,355 (3936) steps/d to 10,054 (3730) steps/d and girls from 11,501 (3278) steps/d to 10,216 (3288) steps/d. The percent accumulating <10,000 steps/d increased by 21% in boys and 12% in girls. The percent achieving >13,000 steps/d decreased by 17% in boys and 10% in girls. Conclusions: Objectively collected evidence indicates an overall decrease in Czech adolescents’ steps/day over a 10-year period concurrent with an increase in the percent of boys and girls accumulating <10,000 steps/d. These trends are concerning as they portend a decline in physical activity as adolescents transition to adulthood and continue to age, which also may have major health implications.

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But What About Swimming and Cycling? How to “Count” Non-Ambulatory Activity When Using Pedometers to Assess Physical Activity

Ruth Miller, Wendy Brown, and Catrine Tudor-Locke

Background:

The aims of this study were to describe the amount of non-ambulatory physical activity (PA) undertaken by a sample of Australian workers, and to evaluate different methods of accounting for non-ambulatory activities when using pedometers to measure physical activity.

Methods:

Adults age 18 to 64 y (N = 204) wore a pedometer and recorded steps and non-step activity in a logbook for 7 d. Non-ambulatory activity was recorded by 28% of the participants (N = 52) with cycling and swimming the most frequently reported.

Results:

The mean time reported for non-ambulatory activities was 82.8 (standard deviation 80.0) min/wk. On average, participants recorded 8873 (standard deviation 2757) steps/d. Time in non-ambulatory activities was converted to steps equivalents using three different conversion methods. Use of the three methods added 333 to 721 steps/d in the whole sample, but 1153 to 2566 steps/d for those who reported non-ambulatory activity.

Conclusions:

Suggestions are provided for accounting for non-ambulatory activities in interventions which rely on step count measures.

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Participation by US Adults in Sports, Exercise, and Recreational Physical Activities

Sandra A. Ham, Judy Kruger, and Catrine Tudor-Locke

Background:

Given the evidence that regular physical activity produces substantial health benefits, participation in sports, exercise, and recreation is widely encouraged. The objective of this study was to describe participation in sports, exercise, and recreational physical activities among US adults.

Methods:

Data from 2 national surveys of respondents age 18 years and older were analyzed. Respondents to the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) from 2003 through 2005 (N = 45,246) reported all activities on 1 randomly selected survey day. Respondents to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 1999 through 2004 (N = 17,061) reported leisure-time physical activities in the 30 days before the interview.

Results:

One-quarter of adults participated in any sport, exercise, or recreational activity on a random day, and 60.9% of adults participated in any leisure-time activity in the previous 30 days. The most common types of activities were walking, gardening and yard work, and other forms of exercise. The sports and recreational activities had typical durations of 1/2 to 3 hours per session, and the exercise activities typically lasted 1 hour or less.

Conclusions:

The prevalence of sports, exercise, and recreational physical activities is generally low among US adults; exercise is the most commonly reported type of activity.

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Assigning Metabolic Equivalent Values to the 2002 Census Occupational Classification System

Catrine Tudor-Locke, Barbara E. Ainsworth, Tracy L. Washington, and Richard Troiano

Background:

The Current Population Survey (CPS) and the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) use the 2002 census occupation system to classify workers into 509 separate occupations arranged into 22 major occupational categories.

Methods:

We describe the methods and rationale for assigning detailed Metabolic Equivalent (MET) estimates to occupations and present population estimates (comparing outputs generated by analysis of previously published summary MET estimates to the detailed MET estimates) of intensities of occupational activity using the 2003 ATUS data comprised of 20,720 respondents, 5323 (2917 males and 2406 females) of whom reported working 6+ hours at their primary occupation on their assigned reporting day.

Results:

Analysis using the summary MET estimates resulted in 4% more workers in sedentary occupations, 6% more in light, 7% less in moderate, and 3% less in vigorous compared with using the detailed MET estimates. The detailed estimates are more sensitive to identifying individuals who do any occupational activity that is moderate or vigorous in intensity resulting in fewer workers in sedentary and light intensity occupations.

Conclusions:

Since CPS/ATUS regularly captures occupation data it will be possible to track prevalence of the different intensity levels of occupations. Updates will be required with inevitable adjustments to future occupational classification systems.

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U.S. Population Profile of Time-Stamped Accelerometer Outputs: Impact of Wear Time

Catrine Tudor-Locke, William D. Johnson, and Peter T. Katzmarzyk

Background:

We examined the effects of wear time on a population profile of time-stamped accelerometer outputs using the 2005−2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data representing 3744 adults ≥ 20 years of age.

Methods:

Outputs included activity counts, steps, and time variables: nonwear (macro-determined), sedentary behavior (<100 activity counts/minute), and time in low (100−499 activity counts/minute), light (500−2019 activity counts/minute), and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA; ≥2020 activity counts/minute) intensities. We describe mean values according to a 24-hour clock. Analysis was repeated in a reduced data set with only those who wore the accelerometer for 60 minutes within each considered hour of the day.

Results:

Between 12:00 and 17:00, U.S. adults spend approximately 31 minutes each hour in sedentary behaviors, and approximately 14 minutes, 10 minutes, and 2 minutes in low, light, and MVPA intensity activity, respectively. Removing the effect of nonwear time, sedentary behaviors are reduced in the morning hours and increase in the evening hours.

Conclusion:

At either end of the day, nonwear time appears to distort population estimates of all accelerometer time and physical activity volume indicators, but its effects are particularly clear on population estimates of time spent in sedentary behavior.