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Catrine Tudor-Locke, David R. Bassett, Michael F. Shipe and James J. McClain

Background:

The purpose of this review is to update the methodological aspects of pedometry to encourage the consistent use of pedometers for assessment, to decrease sources of error, and to facilitate comparison and interpretation of results.

Methods:

The specific measurement topics addressed include: instrument choice, metric choice, validity, reliability, data collection and retrieval, time worn, day-to-day variability, monitoring time frame, reactivity, and data treatment.

Results:

A wide variety of valid and reliable instruments are commercially available and we can expect continued evolutions in value-added features as supporting technology improves. Data collection and retrieval has been achieved through various methods, including face-to-face contact, fax, e-mail, website, and conventional mail, and sometimes a combination of these. Day-to-day variation is not random, as would be expected from inconsistent pedometer performance, but rather exposes true behavior instability that can be explained by other factors and described using a coefficient of variation. Data reduction should be conducted cautiously and only after a full discovery (and disclosure) of its impact on aggregated group statistics and their relationship with other parameters.

Conclusions:

We have no doubt that research with pedometers will continue to yield new and important insights in the coming years.

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Philip W. Scruggs

Background:

The aim of this study was to advance physical activity (PA) surveillance in physical education (PE) by establishing a steps/min guideline that would accurately classify fifth and sixth graders as engaging in PA for 10 min or one-third of the PE lesson time.

Methods:

Data were collected on 147 (11.48 ± 0.83 y) girls and boys in 14 intact classes from five schools. PA was assessed via behavioral observation (i.e., criterion) and pedometry (i.e., predictor). Logistic and linear regression techniques were employed to generate pedometer steps/min cut points. Classification of outcome probability (c), sensitivity, specificity, and receiver-operating-characteristic (ROC) curve statistics tested the decision accuracy of generated steps/min cut points.

Results:

PA measures were strongly correlated (r ≥ 0.80, P < 0.01). A steps/min interval of 60 to 62 was the best cut point indicator of students meeting the PA guidelines.

Conclusions:

Findings support steps/min as an accurate quantifier of PA time in structured PA programs. PA surveillance via pedometry in PE using empirically derived criteria is an objective, valid, and practical mechanism for assessing a primary PE and public health outcome.

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Lobo Louie, Roger G. Eston, Ann. V. Rowlands, Kwok Keung Tong, David K. Ingledew and Frank H. Fu

This study compared the accuracy of heart rate monitoring, pedometry, and uniaxial and triaxial aecelerometry for estimating oxygen consumption during a range of activities in Hong Kong Chinese boys. Twenty-one boys, aged 8–10 years, walked and ran on a treadmill, played catch, played hopscotch, and sat and crayoned. Heart rate, uniaxial and triaxial accelerometry counts, pedometry counts, and scaled oxygen uptake (SVO2) were measured. All measures correlated significantly with VO2 scaled to body mass−0.75 (SVO2). The best predictor of SVO2 was triaxial accelerometry (R2 = 0.89). Correlations in this study were comparable with those in a previous study that used identical methods on 30 UK boys and girls. These results provide further confirmation that triaxial accelerometry provides the best assessment of energy expenditure and that pedometry offers potential for large population studies.

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Philip W. Scruggs

Background:

The validity of common pedometer steps/min guidelines for 1st−12th grade physical education physical activity (PA) recommendations (ie, 33% and 50% PA) was investigated.

Methods:

Data sets from previous research, where physical education PA was quantified via pedometry, were combined. Participants (1st−12th grade, N = 1152) with concurrent steps/min and observed %PA scores were included. Data were analyzed using correlation, regression, and receiver-operator-characteristic (ROC) statistics. Alpha was set at .05.

Results:

Overall, by gender and school level group (ie, 1st−6th, 7th−12th) PA outcome measures were strongly correlated and significant (r = .85–.92). Steps/min2, lesson time3, stature4, and BMI5 were significant predictors (r 12•345=.91) of %PA1. Steps/min accounted for 85.4% of the variance for %PA; however, the other predictors only accounted for an additional 0.5%. ROC analyses indicated that steps/min was an excellent discriminator (AUC ≥ .90) of %PA guideline achievement. Steps/min values of 60.6 and 82.2 were the most accurate cut points overall for the 33% and 50% PA guidelines, respectively. Steps/min cut points for gender and school level demonstrated agreement with the overall steps/min cut points.

Conclusions:

These findings support the contention that common steps/min guidelines can be applied in the surveillance of physical education PA.

Open access

Christopher C. Moore, Aston K. McCullough, Elroy J. Aguiar, Scott W. Ducharme and Catrine Tudor-Locke

. Step counts and energy expenditure as estimated by pedometry during treadmill walking at different stride frequencies . J Phys Act Health . 2011 ; 8 ( 7 ): 1004 – 1013 . PubMed ID: 21885892 doi:10.1123/jpah.8.7.1004 21885892 10.1123/jpah.8.7.1004 76. Oliver M , Badland H , Shepherd J

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Benjamin D. Hickerson and Karla A. Henderson

Background:

Youth summer camp programs have the potential to provide opportunities for physical activity, but little to no research has been conducted to determine activity levels of campers. This study aimed to examine physical activity occurring in day and resident summer camps and how activity levels differed in these camps based upon demographic characteristics.

Methods:

Pedometer data were collected during hours of camp operation from 150 day campers and 114 resident campers between the ages of 8 and 12 years old. Independent t tests were used to compare physical activity by sex, race, and Body Mass Index.

Results:

Campers at day camps averaged 11,916 steps per camp day, while resident campers averaged 19,699 steps per camp day. Day campers averaged 1586 steps per hour over 7.5 hour days and resident campers averaged 1515 steps per hour over 13 hour days. Male sex, Caucasian race, and normal Body Mass Index were significant correlates of more physical activity.

Conclusions:

Youth summer camps demonstrate the potential to provide ample opportunities for physical activity during the summer months. Traditional demographic disparities persisted in camps, but the structure of camp programs should allow for changes to increase physical activity for all participants.

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Bruce Wayne Bailey, Pamela Borup, Larry Tucker, James LeCheminant, Matthew Allen and Whitney Hebbert

Background:

The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between steps per day and adiposity among college women.

Methods:

This study was cross-sectional and included women ages 18–25. Participants wore a pedometer for 7 consecutive days. Body composition was assessed using air-displacement plethysmography. Height, weight, and waist and hip circumferences were assessed.

Results:

The women took 10,119 ± 2836 steps per day. When divided into quartiles by steps, the top 2 quartiles of women in the study had significantly lower BMI, percent body fat, and waist and hip circumferences than the bottom quartile of women (P ≤ .05). Percent body fat was different between the bottom 2 quartiles and the top 2 quartiles (P ≤ .05). The odds of having a body fat of greater than 32% were reduced by 21.9% for every increase of 1,000 steps taken per day (P ≤ .05).

Conclusions:

Steps per day are related to body composition in young adult women, but this relationship weakens with progressively higher step counts. A reasonable recommendation for steps in young adult women that is associated with the lowest BMIs and body fat seems to be between 10,000–12,000 steps per day.

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Rishann Nielson, Pat R. Vehrs, Gilbert W. Fellingham, Ronald Hager and Keven A. Prusak

Background:

The purposes of this study were to determine the accuracy and reliability of step counts and energy expenditure as estimated by a pedometer during treadmill walking and to clarify the relationship between step counts and current physical activity recommendations.

Methods:

One hundred males (n = 50) and females (n = 50) walked at stride frequencies (SF) of 80, 90, 100, 110, and 120 steps/min, during which time step counts and energy expenditure were estimated with a Walk4Life Elite pedometer.

Results:

The pedometer accurately measured step counts at SFs of 100, 110, and 120 steps/min, but not 80 and 90 steps/min. Compared with energy expenditure as measured by a metabolic cart, the pedometer significantly underestimated energy expenditure at 80 steps/min and significantly overestimated measured energy expenditure at 90, 100, 110, and 120 steps/ min.

Conclusions:

The pedometers’ inability to accurately estimate energy expenditure cannot be attributed to stride length entered into the pedometer or its ability to measure step counts. Males met 3 criteria and females met 2 criteria for moderate-intensity physical activity at SF of 110 to 120 steps/min. These results provide the basis for defining moderate-intensity physical activity based on energy expenditure and step counts and may lead to an appropriate steps/day recommendation.

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Anders Raustorp and Yvonne Ekroth

Background:

To explore the secular trends (time change) of pedometer-determined physical activity (steps per day) in Swedish young adolescents 13 to 14 years of age from 2000 to 2008.

Methods:

The study was analyzed between 2 cross-sectional cohorts carried out in October 2000 (235, 111 girls) and October 2008 (186, 107 girls) in the same school, using identical procedures. Data of mean steps per day were collected during 4 consecutive weekdays (sealed pedometer Yamax SW-200 Tokyo, Japan) and in addition height and weight were measured.

Results:

When comparing cohort 2000 with cohort 2008 no significant difference in physical activity were found neither among girls (12,989 vs 13,338 [t = −0.98, P < .325]) nor boys (15,623 vs 15,174 [t= 0.78, P = .436]). The share of girls and boys meeting weight control recommendations was none significantly higher in 2008 both among girls (68% versus 62%) and among boys (69% versus 65%).

Conclusion:

There was no significant difference of young adolescents’ physical activity during school weekdays in 2008 compared with 2000. This stabilized physical activity level, in an internationally comparison regarded as high, is promising. Enhanced focus on physical activity in society and at school might have influenced the result.

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Tyler G. Johnson, Timothy A. Brusseau, Susan Vincent Graser, Paul W. Darst and Pamela H. Kulinna

Background:

The purpose of this study was to conduct a secondary analysis by combining 2 pedometer data sets to describe and analyze pedometer-determined steps/day of children by ethnicity and metropolitan status.

Methods:

Participants were 582 children (309 girls, 273 boys; 53% Hispanic, 26% Caucasian, 21% African American) age 10 to 11 years (M = 10.37 ± 0.48) attending 1 of 10 schools located in urban, suburban, and rural settings. Participants wore a research grade pedometer for at least 3 week/school days. Mean steps/ day were analyzed by gender, ethnicity, and metropolitan status.

Results:

Statistical analyses indicated 1) boys (12,853 ± 3831; P < .001) obtained significantly more steps/day than girls (10,409 ± 3136); 2) African American (10,709 ± 3386; P < .05) children accumulated significantly less steps/day than Hispanic (11,845 ± 3901) and Caucasian (11,668 ± 3369) children; and 3) urban (10,856 ± 3706; P < .05) children obtained significantly less steps/day than suburban (12,297 ± 3616) and rural (11,934 ± 3374) children.

Conclusions:

Findings support self-report data demonstrating reduced physical activity among African American children and youth, especially girls, and among children and youth living in urban areas. Possible reasons for these discrepancies are explored.