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Objective - Pedometer

387. Debate. How should steps per day be reported--a proposal using data from Africa

Research Article
Ian Cook
July 2012

Source: International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity, 2012, 9: 7.

Commentary by Tracy Kolbe-Alexander, University of Cape Town, South Africa

There is a paucity of data for objectively measured physical activity (PA) in Africa, and the data that are available were excluded from previous IJBNPA publications (Tudor-Locke et al., 2011, 8:79) due to the reporting format in the African papers.

This research article provides data available from pedometary in Africa

that can be used with (previous and future) comparisons using cut-points that have been described in previous issues of IJBNPA. Thus the main aim of this research paper is to provide step data from a rural population in Africa.

Methods: The author provides data from 2 studies, n = 121 and n= 789 participants ranging in age from 14 to 96 years old. An upper limit of 17 500 steps was chosen as many daily activities in developing countries requires substantial amounts of walking.

Results: There was a steady decline in daily steps from the age of 20 years to 65 years, however the mean values for all age ranges were above 7000 steps per day. More than 2/3 of adults (68.8%) walked more than 10 000 steps per day. Twenty percent of  people older than 65 years walked more than 10 000 steps per day. Furthermore, 18%, 11% and 16% walked more than 12500-14999, 15000-17499 and >17 5000 steps per day, respectively.

Conclusion: The higher step values from this rural population reflect the greater reliance on subsistence living and active transport than which would be expected in developing countries. More published data from the African continent is important to allow for more comparisons and to establish differences in daily walking between developed and developing countries.

View the full article at http://www.ijbnpa.org/content/pdf/1479-5868-9-7.pdf