Physical Activity Measurement Methods for Young Children: A Comparative Study

B. Hands, H. Parker, Dawne Larkin

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    34 Citations (Scopus)


    Many behavior patterns that impact on physical activity experiences are established in early childhood, therefore it is important that valid, reliable, and feasible measures are constructed to identify children who are not developing appropriate and healthy activity habits. In this study, measures of physical activity derived by accelerometry and pedometry are compared with direct observation of 5- and 6-year-old children (N = 24). The children were monitored for 30 min over 5 consecutive days during a free play session in their preprimary setting. The results for all measures were significantly correlated. When compared to direct observation, the coefficient of determination indicated that the pedometer (R2 = .81) was able to more accurately predict all levels of physical activity compared to the accelerometer (R2 = .59). When the children were grouped into low, moderate, wand high activity levels using observation, the pedometer data were better able to separate the groups than the accelerometer data. These findings indicate that the pedometer is a better measure of free play physical activity in 5- and 6-year-old children compared to the accelerometer.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)203-214
    JournalMeasurement in Physical Education and Exercise Science
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2006

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