Measuring Children’s Vertical Ground Reaction Forces with Accelerometry during Walking, Running, and Jumping: The Iowa Bone Development Study

in Pediatric Exercise Science
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Ground reaction forces (GRF) are associated with bone hypertrophy; therefore, they are important to understanding physical activity’s role in children’s bone health. In this study, we examined the ability of accelerometry to predict vertical GRF in 40 children (mean age 8.6 yr) during slow walking, brisk walking, running, and jumping. Correlation coefficients between accelerometry-derived movement counts and GRF were moderate to high and significant during walking and running, but not during jumping. Given a large proportion of children’s daily physical activity involves ambulation, accelerometry should be useful as a research method in bone-related research. However, this method underestimates GRF during jumping, an important physical activity for bone modeling and remodeling.

K.F. Janz, H.J. Baumann, and J.L. Schultz are with the Department of Health and Sport Studies and S. Rao is with the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA.

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