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David R. Bassett Jr.

The built environment has profound effects on physical activity and health. Many communities in the US are built around the automobile, with little consideration given to pedestrians, cyclists, and transit users. These places tend to have higher rates of physical inactivity (defined as “no leisure time physical activity”) and higher rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. However, in some European countries and selected US cities, communities have been constructed in ways that encourage active modes of transportation. In these places, a large segment of the population meets physical activity guidelines, due in part to the activity they acquire in performing daily tasks. In addition to promoting active transportation, these environments promote recreational walking, jogging, and cycling. Kinesiologists can and should work with urban planners, transportation officials, developers, public health practitioners, and the general public to design cities in ways that enhance physical activity and health.

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Scott A. Conger and David R. Bassett Jr.

The purpose of this study was to develop a compendium of wheelchair-related physical activities. To accomplish this, we conducted a systematic review of the published energy costs of activities performed by individuals who use wheelchairs. A total of 266 studies were identified by a literature search using relevant keywords. Inclusion criteria were studies utilizing individuals who routinely use a manual wheelchair, indirect calorimetry as the criterion measurement, energy expenditure expressed as METs or VO2, and physical activities typical of wheelchair users. Eleven studies met the inclusion criteria. A total of 63 different wheelchair activities were identified with energy expenditure values ranging from 0.8 to 12.5 kcal·kg-1·hr-1. The energy requirements for some activities differed between individuals who use wheelchairs and those who do not. The compendium of wheelchair-related activities can be used to enhance scoring of physical activity surveys and to promote the benefits of activity in this population.

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Randall J. Bergman, David R. Bassett Jr., and Diane A. Klein


This 2-part study examined validity of selected motion sensors for assessing physical activity in older adults residing in assisted-living communities.


Twenty-one older adults (mean age = 78.6 ± 13.1 years) wore the StepWatch 3 Step Activity Monitor (SW3) and the Yamax Digi-Walker SW-200 pedometer (DW). Part I compared accuracy of these devices for measuring steps taken over 161 m. Part II compared devices over a 1-day (24-hour) period.


In part I, the DW recorded 51.9% (r 2 = –.08, P = .75) and the SW3 recorded 102.6% (r 2 = .99, P < .001) of steps. In part II, the DW measured significantly fewer steps (1587 ± 1057 steps) than did the SW3 (6420 ± 3180 steps).


The SW3 pedometer was more accurate in counting steps and recorded higher 24-hour step counts than the DW pedometer. Thus, the SW3 is a valid research instrument for monitoring activity in the assisted-living population.

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Brian Tyo, Rebecca Spataro-Kearns, and David R. Bassett Jr.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was twofold: (1) to determine if the Digi-Walker SW-200 (SW-200), New Lifestyles NL-2000 (NL-2000), and Omron HJ-303 (HJ-303) yield similar daily step counts compared to the StepWatch-3; and (2) to determine if pedometer error is influenced by adiposity and/or stepping rate in African American women. Methods: 60 participants (28.0 ± 9.8 y) wore the devices for three weekdays. ANOVAs were performed to determine if body mass index (BMI) and device were related to steps per day, and to determine if BMI and device were related to error. Stepwise linear regressions were performed to determine which variables contributed to pedometer error. Results: StepWatch-3 counted significantly more steps than all other devices within each BMI category (p < .01). The NL-2000 had significantly less error in the normal (−13.4%) and overweight (−14.9%) groups compared to the SW-200 (−26.2% and −33.3%) and HJ-303 (−32.5% ad −31.5%) (p < .05). The SW-200 had significantly more error in the obese group (−50.7%) compared to the NL-2000 (−17.1%) and HJ-303 (−26.0%) (p < .05). NL-2000 error was not related to any variables while the SW-200 error was related to waist circumference (WC) and the HJ-303 error was related to percentage of slow steps. Conclusion: In African American women adiposity is more strongly related to more pedometer error in a device using a spring-levered mechanism (SW-200). Accumulating steps at a slow rate is related to more pedometer error when using a device with a step filter (HJ-303).

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David R. Bassett, John Pucher Jr., Ralph Buehler, Dixie L. Thompson, and Scott E. Crouter


This study was designed to examine the relationship between active transportation (defined as the percentage of trips taken by walking, bicycling, and public transit) and obesity rates (BMI ≥ 30 kg · m−2) in different countries.


National surveys of travel behavior and health indicators in Europe, North America, and Australia were used in this study; the surveys were conducted in 1994 to 2006. In some cases raw data were obtained from national or federal agencies and then analyzed, and in other cases summary data were obtained from published reports.


Countries with the highest levels of active transportation generally had the lowest obesity rates. Europeans walked more than United States residents (382 versus 140 km per person per year) and bicycled more (188 versus 40 km per person per year) in 2000.


Walking and bicycling are far more common in European countries than in the United States, Australia, and Canada. Active transportation is inversely related to obesity in these countries. Although the results do not prove causality, they suggest that active transportation could be one of the factors that explain international differences in obesity rates.

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James E. Peterman, David R. Bassett Jr, W. Holmes Finch, Matthew P. Harber, Mitchell H. Whaley, Bradley S. Fleenor, and Leonard A. Kaminsky

Background: Active commuting is inversely related with cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors yet associations with CVD prevalence in the US population are unknown. Methods: Aggregate data from national surveys conducted in 2017 provided state-level percentages of adults who have/had coronary heart disease, myocardial infarction, and stroke, and who actively commuted to work. Associations between active commuting and CVD prevalence rates were assessed using Pearson correlations and generalized additive models controlling for covariates. Results: Significant correlations were observed between active commuting and all CVD rates (r range = −.31 to −.47; P < .05). The generalized additive model analyses for active commuting (walking, cycling, or public transport) in all adults found no relationships with CVD rates; however, a significant curvilinear association was observed for stroke within men. The generalized additive model curves when examining commuting via walking or cycling in all adults demonstrated nuanced, generally negative linear or curvilinear associations between coronary heart disease, myocardial infarction, and stroke. Conclusion: Significant negative correlations were observed between active commuting and prevalence rates of coronary heart disease, myocardial infarction, and stroke. Controlling for covariates influenced these associations and highlights the need for future research to explore the potential of active commuting modes to reduce CVD in the United States.

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Jeremy A. Steeves, Catrine Tudor-Locke, Rachel A. Murphy, George A. King, Eugene C. Fitzhugh, David R. Bassett, Dane Van Domelen, John M. Schuna Jr, and Tamara B. Harris

Background: Little is known about the daily physical activity (PA) levels of people employed in different occupational categories. Methods: Nine ActiGraph accelerometer-derived daily PA variables are presented and ranked for adults (N = 1465, 20–60 y) working in the 22 occupational categories assessed by NHANES 2005–2006. A composite score was generated for each occupational category by summing the rankings of 3 accelerometer-derived daily PA variables known to have strong associations with health outcomes (total activity counts [TAC], moderate to vigorous PA minutes per week in modified 10-minute bouts [MVPA 10], and percentage of time spent in sedentary activity [SB%]). Results: Classified as high-activity occupational categories, “farming, fishing, forestry,” and “building & grounds cleaning, maintenance” occupations had the greatest TAC (461 996 and 449 452), most MVPA 10 (149.6 and 97.8), most steps per day (10 464 and 11 602), and near the lowest SB% (45.2% and 45.4%). “Community, social services” occupations, classified as low-activity occupational categories, had the second lowest TAC (242 085), least MVPA 10 (12.1), fewest steps per day (5684), and near the highest SB% (64.2%). Conclusions: There is a strong association between occupational category and daily activity levels. Objectively measured daily PA permitted the classification of the 22 different occupational categories into 3 activity groupings.