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Jorge Mota, Paula Santos, Sandra Guerra, José C. Ribeiro and José A. Duarte

The purpose of this study was to compare the daily activity levels of children varying in body mass over 3 consecutive weekdays. The sample was comprised of 157 children (boys, n = 64; girls, n = 93), aged 8–15 years. BMI was used as obesity indicator. Children were categorized as non-obese and over- weight/obese group, according to the age-adapted values. The CSA activity monitor was used as an objective measure of daily physical activity. No significant differences were reported in the daily physical activity among boys and girls according to BMI group. Boys were significantly more engaged in moderate-to-vigorous physical activities (p = .05) than girls. Significant differences in moderate-to-vigorous physical activities (p = .05) were found between non-obese (69.3 min • day−1) and obese girls (50.7 min • day−1), while no significant differences were reported in boys. Differences between overall activities and involvement in MVPA emerged between overweight/obese and non-obese girls; therefore, obesity in girls may be linked to low levels of physical activity behavior.

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Jamie Lau, Lina Engelen and Anita Bundy

Background:

After-school hours provide an opportunity for physical activity (PA). Parental perceptions influence children’s PA. The aims were to: compare parents’ perceptions of children’s PA with objectively measured PA; shed light on PA during after-school hours; and compare two electronic devices for collecting data.

Methods:

Twenty parent-child dyads participated. Children (5–7 years, mean 6.25 ± 0.64) wore Actical accelerometers; their parents responded to activity diaries on electronic devices. Data were collected twice for 4 consecutive weekday afternoons (15.30–19.00).

Results:

While parents perceived their children to be quite active, children were, in fact, largely inactive. Parents’ responses compared with accelerometer data yielded moderate correlations (r = .44, p < .01). Two thirds of parents’ responses were overestimations. Boys were physically more active than girls and had higher PA outdoors than indoors. Girls’ PA remained similar indoors and outdoors but parents did not perceive the similarity. Both electronic devices produced similar results and compliance rates.

Conclusion:

Parents consistently over-reported their children’s PA. Findings have implications for initiatives to increase PA. If parents perceive their children as very active, they may lack motivation to promote PA. Parents’ limitations as proxy reporters aside, the similarity of results yielded by the two electronic devices suggests that the choice is a matter of researcher preference.

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Hazzaa M. Al-Hazzaa and Mohammed A. Sulaiman

The present study examined the relationship between maximal oxygen uptake (V̇O2max) and daily physical activity in a group of 7- to 12-year-old boys. V̇O2max was assessed through the incremental treadmill test using an open circuit system. Physical activity level was obtained from heart rate telemetry outside of school time for 8 hrs during weekdays and during 40 min of physical education classes. The findings indicated that the absolute value of V̇O2max increased with age, while relative to body weight it remained almost the same across age, with a mean of 48.4 ml · kg−1 · min−1. Moreover, heart rate telemetry showed that the boys spent a limited amount of time on activities that raise the heart rate to a level above 160 bpm (an average of 1.9%). In addition, V̇O2max was found to be significantly related to the percentage of time spent at activity levels at or above a heart rate of 140 bpm, but not with activity levels at or above a heart rate of 160 bpm.

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Larkin L. Strong, Cheryl B. Anderson, Patricia Y. Miranda, Melissa L. Bondy, Renke Zhou, Carol Etzel, Margaret Spitz and Anna V. Wilkinson

Background:

Understanding the factors that contribute to physical activity (PA) in Mexican-origin adolescents is essential to the design of effective efforts to enhance PA participation in this population.

Methods:

Multivariable logistic regression was used to identify sociodemographic and behavioral correlates of self-reported PA in school and community settings in 1154 Mexican-origin adolescents aged 12–17 years in Houston, TX.

Results:

The majority of adolescents were born in the US (74%), approximately half (51%) were overweight or obese, and nearly three-quarters (73%) watched more than 2 hours of weekday television. Similarities and differences by setting and gender were observed in the relationships between sociodemographic and behavioral characteristics and PA. In boys, parental education and attending physical education (PE) were positively associated with PA across multiple PA outcomes. Adolescent linguistic acculturation was inversely associated with participation in community sports, whereas parental linguistic acculturation was positively associated with PA at school. In girls, PA in school and community settings was inversely associated with TV viewing and positively associated with PE participation.

Conclusions:

These findings highlight similarities and differences in correlates of PA among boys and girls, and point toward potential sources of opportunities as well as disparities for PA behaviors in Mexican-origin adolescents.

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Karen Croteau, Grant Schofield, George Towle and Vijiayarani Suresh

Background:

It is speculated that rural Kenyan children are more physically active than those in developed countries. The purpose of this study was to examine pedometer-measured physical activity levels of western Kenyan youth.

Methods:

Participants in this study were children in Levels 3 and 5 who attended a private primary school. The sample (n = 72) consisted of 43 girls and 29 boys (average age = 9.8 ± 1.1, range = 8−12 years). Age, gender, tribe, and height and weight measures were collected. Weight status category was determined according to CDC guidelines. Participants wore a sealed Yamax pedometer for 4 weekdays during the measurement period. Data analysis included descriptive statistics and 2-way ANOVA (age × gender).

Results:

The total sample averaged 14558 ± 3993 daily steps. There was no significant effect for age [F(4,68) = 1.682, P = .102] nor significant age × gender interaction [F(4,68)=1.956, P = .117]. There was a significant effect for gender [F(1,68) = 4.791, P = .033], with boys (16262 ± 4698) significantly more active than girls (13463 ± 3051).

Conclusions:

The observed daily steps are higher than those observed in the U.S., similar to samples in other developed countries, but lower than Amish youth.

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Robert L. Newton, Hongmei Han, Melinda Sothern, Corby K. Martin, Larry S. Webber and Donald A. Williamson

Background:

To determine if there are differences in time spent in physical activity and sedentary behavior between rural African American and Caucasian children.

Methods:

Children wore accelerometers for 3 weekdays. The students were randomly selected from a larger sample of children participating in a weight gain prevention intervention. Usable data were obtained from 272 of the 310 students who agreed to participate. The outcome data included counts per minute (CPM), time spent in moderate to vigorous (MVPA), light (LPA), and sedentary (SED) activity. The equation and cutoff used to analyze national accelerometry data were used for the current study.

Results:

The sample had an average age of 10.4 (1.1) years and 76% were African American. Lower SES African Americans had more CPM (P = .012) and spent more time in MVPA (P = .008) compared with middle SES African American and lower SES Caucasian children. Lower SES African American children also spent fewer minutes in SED activity (P = .044) compared with middle SES African American children.

Conclusions:

These findings support recent results that also used objective activity measures. Children appeared less active and more sedentary than a national sample, warranting interventions in minority and rural populations.

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Maciej S. Buchowski, Leena Choi, Karen M. Majchrzak, Sari Acra, Charles E. Matthews and Kong Y. Chen

Background:

Environmental factors including seasonal changes are important to guide physical activity (PA) programs to achieve or sustain weight loss. The goal was to determine seasonal variability in the amount and patterns of free-living PA in women.

Methods:

PA was measured in 57 healthy women from metropolitan Nashville, TN, and surrounding counties (age: 20 to 54 years, body mass index: 17 to 48 kg/m2) using an accelerometer for 7 consecutive days during 3 seasons within 1 year. PA counts and energy expenditure (EE) were measured in a whole-room indirect calorimeter and used to model accelerometer output and to calculate daily EE and intensity of PA expressed as metabolic equivalents (METs).

Results:

PA was lower in winter than in summer (131 ± 45 vs. 144 ± 54 × 103 counts/d; P = .025) and in spring/fall (143 ± 48 × 103 counts/d; P = .027). On weekends, PA was lower in winter than in summer by 22,652 counts/d (P = .008). In winter, women spent more time in sedentary activities than in summer (difference 35 min/d; P = .007) and less time in light activities (difference −29 min/d, P = .018) and moderate or vigorous activities (difference −6 min/d, P = .051).

Conclusions:

Women living in the southeastern United States had lower PA levels in winter compared with summer and spring/fall, and the magnitude of this effect was greater on weekends than weekdays.

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Peter Collins, Yahya Al-Nakeeb and Mark Lyons

Background:

Active school commuting is widely regarded as a key opportunity for youth to participate in physical activity (PA). However, the accurate measurement of the commute home from school and its contribution to total free-living moderateto- vigorous PA (MVPA) is relatively unexplored.

Methods:

Seventy-five adolescents (38 males, 37 females) wore an integrated GPS and heart rate device during after-school hours for 4 consecutive weekdays.

Results:

Active commuters were significantly more active (11.72 minutes MVPA) than passive commuters (3.5 minutes MVPA) during their commute home from school (P = .001). The commute home of walkers and cyclists on average contributed 35% of their total free-living PA. However, there was no significant difference in the overall free-living PA levels of passive and active commuters (P > .05). A total 92.7% of the youth living within 1.5 miles of the school actively commuted, compared with 16.7% of the youth who lived further away. Socioeconomic differences in commuting patterns were also evident.

Conclusions:

The findings highlighted the significant proportion of total free-living PA that was attributed to active commuting home from school. The study demonstrates the usefulness of utilizing GPS and heart rate data to accurately track young people’s after-school PA. Demographic influences and implications for future research are discussed.

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Au Bich Thuy, Leigh Blizzard, Michael Schmidt, Costan Magnussen, Emily Hansen and Terence Dwyer

Background:

Pedometer measurement of physical activity (PA) has been shown to be reliable and valid in industrialized populations, but its applicability in economically developing Vietnam remains untested. This study assessed the feasibility, stability and validity of pedometer estimates of PA in Vietnam.

Methods:

250 adults from a population-based survey were randomly selected to wear Yamax pedometers and record activities for 7 consecutive days. Stability and concurrent validity were assessed using intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) and Spearman correlation coefficients.

Results:

Overall, 97.6% of participants provided at least 1 day of usable recordings, and 76.2% wore pedometers for all 7 days. Only 5.2% of the sample participants were involved in work activities not measurable by pedometer. The number of steps increased with hours of wear. There was no significant difference between weekday and weekend in number of steps, and at least 3 days of recordings were required (ICC of the 3 days of recordings: men 0.96, women 0.97). Steps per hour were moderately correlated (men r = .42, women r = .26) with record estimates of total PA.

Conclusions:

It is feasible to use pedometers to estimate PA in Vietnam. The measure should involve at least 3 days of recording irrespective of day of the week.

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Aaron Beighle and Robert P. Pangrazi

Background:

The primary purpose of this study was to describe the association between activity time and step counts in children.

Methods:

Subjects were 590 students (334 girls, 256 boys) with each gender having a mean age of 9.2 ± 1.8 y. All subjects wore the Walk4Life 2505 pedometer for four consecutive weekdays. This pedometer simultaneously measures both step counts and activity time.

Results:

Boys accumulated significantly more minutes of activity time/day (140.9 ± 39.6 vs. 126.3 ± 38.1), steps/day (13,348 ± 4131 vs. 11,702 ± 3923), and steps per min (93.99 ± 5.8 vs. 91.85 ± 5.8) than girls (P < 0.001) Steps/day was a significant predictor of activity time/day (P < 0.0001).

Conclusions:

Boys accumulate more steps per day and more activity time per day than girls. There is a strong association between steps per day and activity time in children. Daily steps per minute as a measure of free living physical activity in children is explored