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Research Project: Childhood Obesity Prevention

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Using pedometers for measuring and increasing physical activity in children and adolescents: The next step

Author
item Lubans, David - University Of Newcastle
item Plotnikoff, Ronald - University Of Newcastle
item Miller, Andrew - University Of Newcastle
item Scott, Joseph - University Of Newcastle
item Thompson, Deborah - Debbe
item Tudor-locke, Catrine - Pennington Biomedical Research Center

Submitted to: American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/20/2014
Publication Date: 11/4/2015
Citation: Lubans, D.R., Plotnikoff, R.C., Miller, A., Scott, J.J., Thompson, D.J., Tudor-Locke, C. 2015. Using pedometers for measuring and increasing physical activity in children and adolescents: The next step. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. 9(6):418-427.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The science and practice of step counting in children (typically aged 6-11 years) and adolescents (typically aged 12-19 years) has evolved rapidly over a relatively brief period with the commercial availability of research-grade pedometers and accelerometers. Recent reviews have summarized considerations for assessing physical activity using pedometers in young people (both children and adolescents), but three areas have received little attention: pedometer monitoring protocols, minimal (as opposed to optimal) step counts necessary for maintaining basal levels of health, and appropriate pedometer-based interventions for young people. Therefore, the objective of this review was to evaluate the current evidence and identify future research directions in these areas. The challenges of objective monitoring of physical activity in children and adolescents reinforce the importance of using protocols that minimize participant burden and the potential for tampering/reactivity. Evidence for a sedentary lifestyle cut point is limited; researchers are therefore encouraged to investigate several cut points (i.e., <5000, <6000, <7000 steps/d) in children and adolescents to identify the health consequences of very low levels of ambulatory activity. Personalized messages may be necessary for health behavior change in pedometer-based interventions, but there is a need for more high-quality studies to develop the existing evidence base.