Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
from September 2014
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2007) 06, 270 - 276

Review article
The Measurement and Interpretation of Children’s Physical Activity
Ann V. Rowlands , Roger G. Eston
Author Information
Children’s Health and Exercise Research Centre, School of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Exeter, UK.

Ann V. Rowlands
✉ Children’s Health and Exercise Research Centre, School Of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Exeter, St. Luke’s Campus, Heavitree, Exeter EX1 2LU, England, UK
Publish Date
Received: 13-03-2007
Accepted: 18-07-2007
Published (online): 01-09-2007

The accurate and reliable assessment of physical activity is necessary for any research study where physical activity is either an outcome measure or an intervention. The aim of this review is to examine the use of objective measurement techniques for the assessment and interpretation of children’s physical activity. Accurate measurement of children’s activity is challenging, as the activity is characteristically sporadic and intermittent, consisting of frequent, short bouts. Objective measures of physical activity include heart rate telemetry, pedometry and accelerometry, and each of these methods has strengths and limitations. Heart rate is suited to the measurement of sustained periods of moderate and vigorous activity, pedometry provides a valid measure of total activity, and accelerometry provides a valid measure of total activity as well as the pattern and intensity of activity. As the weaknesses of heart rate and accelerometry for the assessment of activity are not inter-correlated, a combination of the two methods may be more accurate than either method alone. Recent evidence suggests that the Actiheart, an integrated accelerometer and heart rate unit, provides a more accurate prediction of children’s energy expenditure than either heart rate or accelerometry alone. However, the cost of the Actiheart is prohibitive for large-scale studies. The pedometer is recommended when only the total amount of physical activity is of interest. When the intensity or the pattern of activity is of interest, accelerometry is the recommended measurement tool.

Key words: Activity pattern, heart rate, pedometry, accelerometry

           Key Points
  • The use of objective measures to assess physical activity in children is recommended.
  • Pedometers provide an inexpensive objective measure of total activity that is highly correlated with more sophisticated techniques, e.g. accelerometry, and has been used to identify relationships between health and activity in children.
  • Accelerometry allows examination of the temporal pattern and intensity of children’s activity, including sporadic physical activity and bouts of physical activity.
Home Issues About Authors
Contact Current Editorial board Authors instructions
Email alerts In Press Mission For Reviewers
Archive Scope
Supplements Statistics
Most Read Articles
  Most Cited Articles
JSSM | Copyright 2001-2024 | All rights reserved. | LEGAL NOTICES | Publisher

It is forbidden the total or partial reproduction of this web site and the published materials, the treatment of its database, any kind of transition and for any means, either electronic, mechanic or other methods, without the previous written permission of the JSSM.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.