SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the day-to-day variability in pedometer-assessed physical activity (steps/day). A total of 1,443 children aged 6–12 years from the United States (195 boys, 254 girls), Sweden (257 boys, 252 girls), and Australia (229 boys, 256 girls) wore a pedometer for 4 consecutive weekdays. Repeated measures analysis of variance was used to examine daily differences in steps/day and the coefficient of variation (CV) was calculated for each individual to describe the day-to-day variability. Overall, mean steps/day were higher among boys (14,698 ± 3,373 steps/day) than girls (12,086 ± 2,929 steps/day). Significant differences were found between the 4 monitoring days for the entire sample; however, the absolute mean differences were small (55–958 steps) with an overall effect size of 0.01. This trend was apparent regardless of age, gender, and country. Individual CVs ranged from ∼2 to 88% and the overall mean CV approximated 22%. An age-related increase in the mean CV was observed between 6- and 12-year-old children. The age × gender × country interaction was not significant (P > 0.05). These findings have implications toward the proper design, analysis, and interpretation of studies regarding physical activity among children. Beyond this aspect, our results lend insight into potential age-related biological mechanisms that may also influence daily levels and patterns of physical activity. Am. J. Hum. Biol. 19:537–543, 2007. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.