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Pedometry Methods for Assessing Free-Living Adults

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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Validity of Heart Rate, Pedometry, and Accelerometry for Estimating the Energy Cost of Activity in Hong Kong Chinese Boys

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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Quantifying Activity Time via Pedometry in Fifth- and Sixth-Grade Physical Education

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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Quantifying Physical Activity in Physical Education via Pedometry: A Further Analysis of Steps/Min Guidelines

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

Toward Harmonized Treadmill-Based Validation of Step-Counting Wearable Technologies: A Scoping Review

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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Opportunities for Promoting Youth Physical Activity: An Examination of Youth Summer Camps

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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Step-Defined Physical Activity and Cardiovascular Risk Among Middle-Aged Japanese: The National Health and Nutrition Survey of Japan 2006

Shigeru Inoue, Yumiko Ohya, Catrine Tudor-Locke, Nobuo Yoshiike, and Teruichi Shimomitsu

Background:

Pedometers are becoming widely accepted for physical activity measurement. To use step data effectively, an index which categorizes steps/day by < 5000, ≥ 5000, ≥ 7500, ≥ 10,000, and ≥ 12,500 steps/day has been previously proposed. However, evidence is insufficient to validate this index compared with health outcomes. This study examined the association of steps/day categories with cardiovascular (CVD) risk.

Methods:

Cross-sectional data from the National Health and Nutrition Survey of Japan 2006, including 1166 men and 1453 women aged 40–64 years, were analyzed to calculate odds ratios (OR) for having CVD risk including overweight/obesity, blood pressure, high density lipoprotein cholesterol, hemoglobin A1c, and clustered risk factors by steps/day categories.

Results:

Among men, inverse gradient associations between steps/day categories and CVD risk (overweight/obesity, blood pressure, HbA1c, and clustered risk factors) were observed. Among women, those taking ≥ 5000 steps/day had substantially lower risk of overweight/obesity and high blood pressure compared with those taking < 5000 steps/day. However, additional decreases of OR by taking more steps were modest among women.

Conclusions:

CVD risk was generally lower with higher steps/day categories. Given the limitations of cross-sectional design, further studies, especially using longitudinal designs, are needed to precisely calibrate the association between steps/day and CVD risk.

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Physical Activity Trajectories During Daily Middle School Physical Education

Ryan D. Burns, Timothy A. Brusseau, and James C. Hannon

Background:

Optimal levels of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) have been shown to improve health and academic outcomes in youth. Limited research has examined MVPA trajectories throughout a daily middle school physical education (PE) curriculum. The purpose of this study was to examine MVPA trajectories over a daily PE curriculum and the modifying effects of sex, body composition, and cardiorespiratory endurance.

Methods:

One hundred 7th- and 8th-grade students participated in daily PE lessons. There were 66 lessons throughout the semester. MVPA was monitored during each lesson using NL-1000 piezoelectric pedometers. Students were classified into FITNESSGRAM Healthy Fitness Zones using estimated VO2 Max and Body Mass Index (BMI). A population averaged generalized estimating equation was employed to examine MVPA trajectories.

Results:

On average, students’ MVPA decreased over time (β = –0.35, P < .001). Poor student VO2max classification significantly modified the trajectories (β = –0.14, P < .001), however poor BMI classification did not have a modifying effect (β = 0.03, P = .158).

Conclusions:

MVPA decreased in daily PE over time and cardiorespiratory endurance significantly modified the trajectories. The results support that extra efforts have to be made by teachers and students to sustain MVPA behaviors over a semester.

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The Effect of a Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program on Physical Activity and Health-Related Fitness in Children From Low-Income Families

Timothy A. Brusseau, James Hannon, and Ryan Burns

Background:

The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of a Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program (CSPAP) on physical activity and health-related fitness (HRF) in children from low-income families.

Methods:

Participants included 1390 children recruited from kindergarten through sixth grade (mean age = 8.4 ± 1.8 years). Physical activity measures were collected at baseline and at 6 weeks and 12 weeks after program implementation, and HRF measures were collected at baseline and at 12 weeks after program implementation.

Results:

There were significant but weak-to-moderate increases in step counts (mean difference = 603.1 steps, P < .001, d = 0.39) and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (mean difference = 4.9 minutes, P < .001, d = 0.39) at 12 weeks compared with baseline. There were also significant but moderate increases in Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run laps (mean difference = 6.5 laps, P < .001, d = 0.47) at 12 weeks compared with baseline. Generalized mixed models respectively yielded 3.02 and 2.34 greater odds that a child would achieve step count and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity standards and 2.26 greater odds that a child would achieve aerobic fitness standards at 12 weeks compared with baseline (P < .001).

Conclusions:

The 12-week CSPAP improved physical activity and HRF in children from low-income families; however, the magnitude of the effects was weak to moderate.

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Daily Physical Activity Patterns of Children Living in an American Indian Community

Timothy A. Brusseau, Pamela H. Kulinna, Catrine Tudor-Locke, and Matthew Ferry

Background:

Embracing a physically active lifestyle is especially important for American Indian (AI) children who are at a greater risk for hypokinetic diseases, particularly Type 2 diabetes. The purpose of this study was to describe AI children’s pedometer-determined physical activity (PA) segmented into prominent daily activity patterns.

Methods:

Participants included 5th- and 6th-grade children (N = 77) attending school from 1 Southwestern US AI community. Children wore a pedometer (Yamax Digiwalker SW-200) for 7 consecutive days.

Results:

Boys accumulated 12,621 (±5385) steps/weekday and girls accumulated 11,640 (±3695) steps/weekday of which 38% (4,779 ± 1271) and 35% (4,027 ± 1285) were accumulated at school for boys and girls, respectively. Physical education (PE) provided the single largest source of PA during school for both boys (25% or 3117 steps/day) and girls (23% or 2638 steps/day). Lunchtime recess provided 1612 (13%) and 1241 (11%) steps/day for boys and girls, respectively. Children were significantly less active on weekend days, accumulating 8066 ± 1959 (boys) and 6676 ± 1884 (girls).

Conclusions:

Although children accumulate a majority of their steps outside of school, this study highlights the important contribution of PE to the overall PA accumulation of children living in AI communities. Further, PA programming during the weekend appears to be important for this population.