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Kelly R. Laurson, Gregory J. Welk, and Joey C. Eisenmann


The purpose of this study was to provide a practical demonstration of the impact of monitoring frame and metric when assessing pedometer-determined physical activity (PA) in youth.


Children (N = 1111) were asked to wear pedometers over a 7-day period during which time worn and steps were recorded each day. Varying data-exclusion criteria were used to demonstrate changes in estimates of PA. Steps were expressed using several metrics and criteria, and construct validity was demonstrated via correlations with adiposity.


Meaningful fluctuations in average steps per day and percentage meeting PA recommendations were apparent when different criteria were used. Children who wore the pedometer longer appeared more active, with each minute the pedometer was worn each day accounting for an approximate increase of 11 and 8 steps for boys and girls, respectively (P < .05). Using more restrictive exclusion criteria led to stronger correlations between indices of steps per day, steps per minute, steps per leg length, steps per minute per leg length, and obesity.


Wear time has a meaningful impact on estimates of PA. This should be considered when determining exclusion criteria and making comparisons between studies. Results also suggest that incorporating wear time per day and leg length into the metric may increase validity of PA estimates.

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Kelly R. Laurson, Joey A. Lee, and Joey C. Eisenmann


Physical activity (PA), television time (TV), and sleep duration (SLP) are considered individual risk factors for adolescent obesity. Our aim was to investigate the concurrent influence of meeting PA, SLP, and TV recommendations on adolescent obesity utilizing 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey (YRBSS) data.


Subjects included 9589 (4874 females) high school students. PA, SLP, and TV were categorized utilizing established national recommendations and youth were cross-tabulated into 1 of 8 groups based on meeting or not meeting each recommendation. Logistic models were used to examine the odds of obesity for each group. Results: Youth meeting the PA recommendation were not at increased odds of obesity, regardless of SLP or TV status. However, not meeting any single recommendation, in general, led to increased odds of not meeting the other two. In boys, 11.8% met all recommendations while 14.1% met 0 recommendations. In girls, only 5.0% met all recommendations while 17.8% met none.


Boys and girls not meeting any of the recommendations were 4.0 and 3.8 times more likely to be obese compared with their respective referent groups. Further research considering the simultaneous influence these risk factors may have on obesity and on one another is warranted.

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Jeffrey C. Cowley, Steven T. McCaw, Kelly R. Laurson, and Michael R. Torry

Purpose: Children who are overweight typically do not perform motor skills as well as normal-weight peers. This study examined whether vertical jump kinetics and kinematics of children who are overweight differ from nonoverweight peers. Methods: Thirty-nine children completed maximum-effort countermovement vertical jumps. Motion capture was used to complete lower extremity kinematic and kinetic analyses. Results: The overweight group (body mass index ≥ 85th percentile; N = 11; age = 6.5 [1.6] y) jumped lower relative to their mass (0.381 cm/kg lower; P < .001) than normal-weight peers (N = 28; age = 6.4 [1.7] y). Compared with children who are normal weight, children who were overweight exhibited a shallower countermovement (knee: 12° less flexion, P = .02; hip: 10° less flexion, P = .045), lower hip torque (0.06 N·m/kg lower, P = .01) and hip work (40% less work, P = .01), and earlier peak joint angular velocities (knee: 9 ms earlier, P = .001; hip: 14 ms earlier, P = .004). Conclusion: Children who are overweight do not achieve optimal jumping mechanics and exhibit jumping characteristics of an earlier developmental stage compared with their peers. Interventions should help children who are overweight learn to execute a proper countermovement.

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Nicholas M. Pilli, Tyler J. Kybartas, Kristen M. Lagally, and Kelly R. Laurson

Purpose: To investigate the association between muscular strength and metabolic syndrome (MetS), with a specific focus on the role of weight status, using a nationally representative sample of US youth. Methods: The analysis included 409 boys and 415 girls from the 2011 to 2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 12 and 18 years of age. The prevalence of MetS was defined using age- and sex-specific criteria for abdominal obesity, elevated triglycerides, blood pressure, fasting glucose, and low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. Strength was assessed via handgrip dynamometer and expressed as age- and sex-specific z scores of relative strength. Low strength was defined as a relative strength below the 25th percentile. Analyses controlled for age, sex, race/ethnicity, physical activity, and weight status. Results: The sample prevalence of MetS was approximately 5.3%. However, MetS prevalence was 18.5% in overweight/obese youth with low strength. The adjusted odds of MetS were 3.1 (95% confidence interval, 1.5–6.3, P < .001) times higher for overweight/obese youth with low strength versus sufficient strength. Conclusion: Muscular strength is predictive of adolescent MetS, specifically in those with unhealthy weight status. Approximately one in 5 overweight/obese youth with low strength had MetS. These findings highlight the relevance of muscular strength in youth cardiometabolic morbidities.

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Heather Hayes Betz, Joey C. Eisenmann, Kelly R. Laurson, Katrina D. DuBose, Mathew J. Reeves, Joseph J. Carlson, and Karin A. Pfeiffer

Purpose: The objective of this study was to examine the independent and combined association of physical activity and body mass index (BMI) with blood pressure in youth. Methods: Youth aged 8–18 years from the 2003–2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) with BMI, blood pressure, and physical activity (accelerometer) were included in the analyses. A total of 2585 subjects (1303 males; 47% of all 8- to 18-year-olds) met these criteria. Results: Obese youth had a systolic blood pressure that was 8 mm Hg higher than normal weight youth. A significant interaction between BMI and physical activity on blood pressure was found (P < .001), and group differences among the BMI/activity groups showed that the 3 obese groups and the overweight/least active group had significantly higher systolic blood pressure than the normal weight/active group across all analyses. The overweight/least active and normal weight/least active groups had significantly higher diastolic blood pressure than the normal weight/active group as well. Conclusions: This study showed a significant independent and combined association of BMI and physical activity with blood pressure in youth. Interventions need to focus on the reduction of fatness/BMI as a way to reduce the cardiovascular risk in youth.