A study deriving a threshold for moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity (MVPA) in terms of accelerometer counts in 12-year-old children was repeated with a subset of the same children at 16 years.
Fifteen girls and thirty boys took part in 6 activities (lying, sitting, slow walking, walking, hopscotch and jogging) while wearing an Actigraph 7164 accelerometer and a Cosmed K4b2 portable metabolic unit. Random intercepts modeling was used to estimate cut points for MVPA (defined as 4 METs).
Using a single model, the sex-specific thresholds derived for MVPA at 16 years were some way below the 3600 counts/minute used for both sexes at age 12, particularly for girls. However graphical examination suggested that a single model might be inadequate to describe both higher- and lower-intensity activities. Models using only lower-intensity activities close to the 4 METs threshold supported retention of the 3600 counts/minute cut point for both sexes.
When restricting to lower-intensity activities only, these data do not provide sufficient evidence to change the previously established cut point of 3600 counts/minute to represent MVPA. However, further data and more sophisticated modeling techniques are required to confirm this decision.