Validity of low-cost measures for global surveillance of physical activity in pre-school children: the SUNRISE validation study

Tawonga W. Mwase-Vuma, Xanne Janssen, Anthony D. Okely, Mark S. Tremblay, Catherine E. Draper, Alex Antonio Florindo, Chiaki Tanaka, Denise Koh, Guan Hongyan, Hong K. Tang, Kar Hau Chong, Marie Löf, Mohammad Sorowar Hossain, Penny Cross, P.W. Prasad Chathurangana, John J. Reilly

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Abstract

Objectives: To validate parent-reported child habitual total physical activity against accelerometry and three existing step-count thresholds for classifying 3 h/day of total physical activity in pre-schoolers from 13 culturally and geographically diverse countries. Design: Cross-sectional validation study. Methods: We used data involving 3- and 4-year-olds from 13 middle- and high-income countries who participated in the SUNRISE study. We used Spearman's rank-order correlation, Bland–Altman plots, and Kappa statistics to validate parent-reported child habitual total physical activity against activPAL™-measured total physical activity over 3 days. Additionally, we used Receiver Operating Characteristic Area Under the Curve analysis to validate existing step-count thresholds (Gabel, Vale, and De Craemer) using step-counts derived from activPAL™. Results: Of the 352 pre-schoolers, 49.1 % were girls. There was a very weak but significant positive correlation and slight agreement between parent-reported total physical activity and accelerometer-measured total physical activity (r: 0.140; p = 0.009; Kappa: 0.030). Parents overestimated their child's total physical activity compared to accelerometry (mean bias: 69 min/day; standard deviation: 126; 95 % limits of agreement: −179, 316). Of the three step-count thresholds tested, the De Craemer threshold of 11,500 steps/day provided excellent classification of meeting the total physical activity guideline as measured by accelerometry (area under the ROC curve: 0.945; 95 % confidence interval: 0.928, 0.961; sensitivity: 100.0 %; specificity: 88.9 %). Conclusions: Parent reports may have limited validity for assessing pre-schoolers' level of total physical activity. Step-counting is a promising alternative – low-cost global surveillance initiatives could potentially use pedometers for assessing compliance with the physical activity guideline in early childhood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1002-1007
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Science and Medicine in Sport
Volume25
Issue number12
Early online date9 Oct 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2022

Keywords

  • measurement
  • physical activity
  • accelerometry
  • parent reports
  • pedometer
  • child

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