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Monitoring of physical activity in young children: how much is enough?

Reilly, John J and Penpraze, V and MacLean, Christina and Montgomery, C. and Kelly, L.A. and Paton, J.Y. and Aitchison, T. and Grant, S. (2006) Monitoring of physical activity in young children: how much is enough? Pediatric Exercise Science, 18 (4). pp. 483-491. ISSN 0899-8493

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Abstract

There is limited evidence on how much and on which days accelerometry monitoring should be performed to obtain a representative measurement of physical activity (PA) in young children. We measured 76 children (40 M and 36 F, mean age 5.6 years [SD ± 0.4]) on 7 days using Actigraph accelerometers. Mean daily PA was expressed in counts per min (cpm). Reliability increased as the number of days and hours of monitoring increased, but only to 10 hr per day. At 7 days of monitoring for 10 hr per day, reliability was 80% (95% CI [70%, 86%]). The number of days was more important to reliability than the number of hours. The inclusion or exclusion of weekend days made relatively little difference. A monitoring period of 7 days for 10 hr per day produced the highest reliability. Surprisingly short monitoring periods may provide adequate reliability in young children.