Is there a Sex Difference in Accelerometer Counts During Walking in Older Adults?

Dane R Van Domelen, Paolo Caserotti, Robert J Brychta, Tamara B Harris, Kushang V Patel, Kong Y Chen, Nanna Ýr Arnardóttir, Gudny Eirikdottir, Lenore J Launer, Vilmundur Gudnason, Thórarinn Sveinsson, Erlingur Jóhannsson, Annemarie Koster

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Background: Accelerometers have emerged as a useful tool for measuring free-living physical activity in epidemiological studies. Validity of activity estimates depends on the assumption that measurements are equivalent for males and females while performing activities of the same intensity. The primary purpose of this study was to compare accelerometer count values in males and females undergoing a standardized 6-minute walk test. Methods: The study population was older adults (78.6 ± 4.1 years) from the AGES-Reykjavik Study (N = 319). Participants performed a 6-minute walk test at a self-selected fast pace while wearing an ActiGraph GT3X at the hip. Vertical axis counts•s -1 was the primary outcome. Covariates included walking speed, height, weight, BMI, waist circumference, femur length, and step length. Results: On average, males walked 7.2% faster than females (1.31 vs. 1.22 m•s -1, P < .001) and had 32.3% greater vertical axis counts•s -1 (54.6 vs. 39.4 counts•s -1, P < .001). Accounting for walking speed reduced the sex difference to 19.2% and accounting for step length further reduced the difference to 13.4% (P < .001). Conclusion: Vertical axis counts•s -1 were disproportionally greater in males even after adjustment for walking speed. This difference could confound free-living activity estimates.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Physical Activity & Health
Volume11
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)626-637
Number of pages12
ISSN1543-3080
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014

Bibliographical note

2013 Feb 8. [Epub ahead of print]

Keywords

  • 6-minute walk test
  • AGES-Reykjavik Study
  • Accelerometry
  • Physical activity
  • Body Weight
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Activity
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Walking
  • Exercise Test
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Time Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Aged
  • Monitoring, Ambulatory/methods

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