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Choice of activity-intensity classification thresholds impacts upon accelerometer-assessed physical activity-health relationships in children

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Sarah CharmanORCiD



Background: It is unknown whether using different published thresholds (PTs) for classifying physical activity (PA) impacts upon activity-health relationships. This study explored whether relationships between PA (sedentary [SED], light PA [LPA], moderate PA [MPA], moderate-to-vigorous PA, vigorous PA [VPA]) and health markers differed in children when classified using three different PTs. Methods: 104 children (63 girls) aged 10–14 years wore an RT3 triaxial accelerometer for seven days and measures of adiposity and cardiometabolic risk markers were taken. Results: Significant associations (p< .05) in boys were found between LPA and body mass index z-score and waist circumference z-score for the Rowlands et al PT only (β = .459 and.401, respectively) and body fat% (BF%) for the Chu et al PT only (β = .322) and in girls with BF% for the Rowlands et al PT only (β = .303) and systolic BP and blood glucose for the Vanhelst et al PT only (β = −.298 and −.283, respectively). MPA was significantly (p<.05) associated with BF%, diastolic BP, and cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) for the Chu et al PT only in girls (β = −.436, −.529, and .446, respectively). SED was significantly (p<.05) associated with triglycerides (β = .492) for the Rowlands et al PT only in boys and VPA with CRF (p<.05) for the Rowlands et al and Vanhelst et al PTs only in girls (β = .416 and .352, respectively). Conclusions: The choice of PT impacted upon activity-health relationships. A consensus on appropriate accelerometer thresholds for quantifying PA intensity and sedentary behaviour is needed in order to make accurate evidence-based recommendations for health promotion.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Bailey DP, Boddy LM, Savory LA, Denton SJ, Kerr CJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: PLoS One

Year: 2013

Volume: 8

Issue: 2

Print publication date: 18/02/2013

Date deposited: 11/07/2013

ISSN (electronic): 1932-6203

Publisher: Public Library of Science


DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0057101


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