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Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2006 Dec;160(12):1262-8.

Objectively measured physical activity in sixth-grade girls.

Author information

  • 1Department of Exercise Science, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, USA. rpate@gwm.sc.edu



To describe the objectively measured physical activity characteristics of a diverse sample of sixth-grade girls, to examine influences on physical activity, and to report compliance with physical activity guidelines.


Cross-sectional study.


Six locations across the United States.


A total of 1578 sixth-grade girls. Accelerometers were worn for 7 days, and data for 6 days were included in the analyses. Main Exposures Race/ethnicity, free or reduced-price lunch, and geographic region.


Six operational definitions of adequate activity (60 or 30 minutes of daily moderate to vigorous physical activity at or above 4.6, 3.8, or 3.0 metabolic equivalents) were used to examine whether girls met physical activity guidelines.


Average times spent in sedentary, light, moderate, and vigorous activities were 460, 342, 18, and 6 min/d, respectively. White girls were more active than girls in other race/ethnic groups, and girls who did not receive free or reduced-price lunch were more active than girls who did. Girls in western states were most active. Percentages of girls in compliance with the 6 thresholds for adequate activity varied widely and ranged from 0.6% to 100.0%.


When physical activity is measured objectively and a 4.6-metabolic equivalents cut point for moderate to vigorous physical activity is used, most sixth-grade girls do not meet guidelines for adequate physical activity. One notable finding was the effect of different accelerometer scoring protocols on estimates of compliance. Conceptual and empirical work is needed to define appropriate physical activity for youth using objective physical activity measures.

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