A1 Journal article (refereed)
Physical activity accumulation along the intensity spectrum differs between children and adults (2021)

Rantalainen, T., Ridgers, N. D., Gao, Y., Belavý, D. L., Haapala, E. A., & Finni, T. (2021). Physical activity accumulation along the intensity spectrum differs between children and adults. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 121(9), 2563-2571. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-021-04731-3

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Rantalainen, Timo; Ridgers, Nicola D.; Gao, Ying; Belavý, Daniel L.; Haapala, Eero A.; Finni, Taija

Journal or series: European Journal of Applied Physiology

ISSN: 1439-6319

eISSN: 1439-6327

Publication year: 2021

Publication date: 05/06/2021

Volume: 121

Issue number: 9

Pages range: 2563-2571

Publisher: Springer

Publication country: Germany

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-021-04731-3

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Partially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/76348


Detailed exploration of physical activity accumulation with fine grading along the intensity spectrum has indicated the potential pragmatic utility of such an approach. However, it is currently unclear what sorts of accumulation patterns along particular intensity bands are found in the children and adult populations. Therefore, we conducted a comparison of activity accumulation in specific intensity bands between four distinct populations: children, adults with sedentary lifestyles, habitual joggers, habitual marathon runners.

Free-living waist-worn accelerometry records from 28 children aged 7 to 11, and 61 adults aged 25 to 35 were analysed. Activity intensity was evaluated in 5 s non-overlapping epochs as mean amplitude deviation (MAD) and normalised to acceleration intensities corresponding to walking at 3 metabolic equivalents of a task (METs). Adult data were normalised to 0.091 g MAD based on literature, and data from children to 0.170 g MAD based on laboratory experimentation. The normalised epoch values were divided into 100 intensity gradations.

Children accumulated more activity in 0.74 to 1.58 normalised acceleration intensities (all p < 0.005) compared to adults. Adult joggers/runners accumulated more activity in normalised acceleration intensities from 7.1 to 11.1 compared to the other groups (p < 0.008).

The primary bulk of children’s free-living activities are of relatively low intensity not likely to provoke cardiometabolic improvement. These sorts of explorations could be used in informing intervention development aiming at optimising healthy development. Evidence is mounting to justify randomised controlled trials based on intervention targets identified based on exploring the intensity spectrum.

Keywords: physical activeness; actigraphy; children (age groups); adults

Free keywords: wearable; activity; actigraphy; mean amplitude deviation

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Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2021

JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2022-20-09 at 14:32