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 (2009) 08, 136 - 143

Research article
Relationships Between Accelerometer-Assessed Physical Activity and Health in Children: Impact of the Activity-Intensity Classification Method
Michelle R. Stone , Ann V. Rowlands, Roger G. Eston
Author Information
School of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, Devon, UK

Michelle R. Stone
✉ Children’s Health and Exercise Research Centre, School of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, Devon, UK, EX1 2LU
Publish Date
Received: 15-12-2008
Accepted: 11-02-2009
Published (online): 01-03-2009
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It is unknown whether relationships detected between physical activity intensity and health differ according to accelerometer thresholds used [sample-specific thresholds (SSTs), published thresholds (PTs) or the individualized activity-related time equivalent (ArteACC)]. SSTs were developed through ActiGraph calibration in 52 boys, aged 8-10 years. The boys subsequently wore an ActiGraph for seven days. SSTs, PTs and ArteACC for moderate (MPA) and vigorous (VPA) activity were applied. Waist circumference (WC), peak oxygen consumption (VO2peak) and blood pressure were assessed. After applying SSTs, 48.9% of boys achieved 60+ minutes of daily MVPA, compared with 8.5% with PTs and 100% with ArteACC. MPA and VPA were correlated with WC and VO2peak, regardless of whether PTs or SSTs were used (WC: MPA r = -0.37 to -0.43; VO2peak: r = 0.34 to 0.39, p < 0.05). With ArteACC, only VPA was correlated with WC (r = -0.39, p < 0.01) and VO2peak (r = 0.35, p < 0.05). Relationships with blood pressure were statistically non-significant. Although estimates of the quantity of activity differed according to thresholds used, relationships detected with health were consistent regardless of whether SSTs or PTs were employed. There was no advantage of using SSTs or individualized thresholds. Researchers are encouraged to use PTs to ensure greater comparability between studies.

Key words: ActiGraph, activity guidelines, MVPA, thresholds

           Key Points
  • Standardized accelerometer intensity thresholds for evaluating children’s physical activity do not exist, therefore determining whether relationships between activity and health differ when using different thresholds is of interest.
  • Although prevalence estimates differ according to the choice of accelerometer intensity threshold, relationships detected between activity and various health outcomes in boys are similar, providing the moderate threshold is at least equivalent to an average brisk walk (i.e., ≥ 4 METs).
  • Standardization of thresholds between samples should not impact on relationships determined with health and would allow comparability of prevalence estimates.
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