Study aim: Over the past decade there have been numerous efforts to identify how many steps/day children should accumulate. Recommendations range from 10,000 to 16,500 steps/day. The purpose of this article was to examine the percentage of elementary school aged children meeting nine different sets of steps/day recommendations.
Material and methods: 786 Southwestern US children (410 girls, BMI 19.3±4.2) wore the Yamax Digiwalker SW-200 pedometer and recorded their steps/day for 7 consecutive days. Mean steps/day was calculated and the percent-age of students meeting each of the various steps/day recommendations was determined.
Results: Children averaged 11,113±3,666 steps/day. Sixty-one percent of all children met a minimum of 10,000 steps/day. Thirty-six percent met the most widely used recommendation of 11,000 and 13,000 steps/day for boys and girls, respectively. Using BMI referenced recommendations, between 10-52% of children met various guidelines.
Conclusions: Southwestern US children in the current sample are not getting enough daily activity to meet the ma-jority of step recommendations. Findings suggest that less than 33% of children are active for 60 minutes of physical activity (inferred from one of the guidelines) a day and only 36% would qualify for the Presidential Active Life-styles Award. Additional school and home-based physical activity programming is clearly needed.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.