OBJECTIVE: To determine whether activity counts obtained with the Actiwatch monitor are associated with total expenditure and body composition in young children. RESEARCH METHODS AND PROCEDURES: Actiwatch activity monitors were tested in 29 children 4 to 6 years old under field conditions over eight days. Total energy expenditure (TEE) was assessed with the doubly labeled water (DLW) technique. Correlation analyses were used to identify variables related to energy expenditure and percentage body fat. Multiple linear regression analyses were used to examine the variance in TEE and percentage body fat explained by activity counts after adjusting for relevant covariates. RESULTS: Both average total daily activity counts (658,816 +/- 201,657) and the pattern of activity were highly variable among subjects. TEE was significantly related to lean body mass (r = 0.45) and age (r = 0.48; p < 0.05 for both). Activity counts alone were not associated with TEE. In multiple linear regression analyses, TEE was independently associated with only lean body mass. Percentage fat mass was independently associated with body weight, being a girl, and being white, but not with average total activity counts. DISCUSSION: Activity counts obtained with the Actiwatch under free-living conditions do not reflect TEE in 4- to 6-year-old children and are not correlated with percentage fat mass. Therefore, average total activity counts obtained with the Actiwatch may be of limited value in identifying children at risk for becoming obese.
Adipose Tissue, African Americans, Body Composition, Child, Child, Preschool, Energy Metabolism, European Continental Ancestry Group, Female, Humans, Linear Models, Male, Monitoring, Physiologic, Motor Activity