Meeting the 60-Min Physical Activity Guideline: Effect of Operationalization

DE VRIES, SANNE I.1,2; HOPMAN-ROCK, MARIJKE1,2; BAKKER, INGRID1,2; VAN MECHELEN, WILLEM2,3

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: January 2009 - Volume 41 - Issue 1 - pp 81-86
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e318184c931
Basic Sciences

Purpose: To investigate the effect of guideline operationalization in terms of intensity threshold, bout duration, and days on the proportion of children meeting the health-related 60-min physical activity guideline using a subjective and an objective assessment method.

Methods: Five hundred and twenty-one children (6-11 yr) completed a physical activity diary for at least 4 d. A subsample of 51 children simultaneously wore an ActiGraph (ActiGraph, Pensacola, FL) accelerometer. Time spent above moderate-intensity thresholds of 3 and 5 METs, respectively, for continuous bouts of at least 1, 5, and 10 min was calculated. For each intensity threshold and bout duration, the proportion of children meeting the 60-min guideline was calculated. A distinction was made between meeting the 60-min threshold on each assessment day and meeting this threshold on average across all assessment days.

Results: The proportion of children meeting the 60-min guideline differed considerably by guideline operationalization and assessment method. It ranged from 3% to 86% using the diary and from 0% to 100% using the ActiGraph. Overall, a higher proportion of children met the guideline when the 3-MET intensity threshold was used compared with the 5-MET threshold and when a shorter bout duration was used compared with a longer bout duration. More children met the guideline on average across all assessment days compared with the guideline on each assessment day. In general, boys were found to be more active than girls, independent of guideline operationalization and assessment method.

Conclusion: Meeting the 60-min guideline highly depends on guideline operationalization and assessment method. Consensus about how the guideline should be operationalized is needed to monitor the extent to which populations of children meet the guideline and to simplify comparison between studies.

1Department of Physical Activity and Health, TNO Quality of Life, Leiden, THE NETHERLANDS; 2Body@Work, Research Centre Physical Activity, Work and Health, TNO-VU University Medical Centre, Amsterdam, THE NETHERLANDS; and 3Department of Public and Occupational Health, EMGO Institute, VU University Medical Centre, Amsterdam, THE NETHERLANDS

Address for correspondence: Sanne I. de Vries, M.Sc., Department of Physical Activity and Health, TNO Quality of Life, P.O. Box 2215, 2301 CE Leiden, The Netherlands; E-mail: sanne.devries@tno.nl.

Submitted for publication December 2007.

Accepted for publication June 2008.

© 2009 American College of Sports Medicine