Sports Medicine Bulletin
Dec. 7, 2010

Active Voice: Glory Days at Six Years of Age — A Worrisome Pattern of Low Physical Activity in U.S. Children and Youth
By Catrine Tudor-Locke, Ph.D., FACSM
Viewpoints presented in SMB commentaries reflect opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect positions or policies of ACSM.

Catrine Tudor-Locke, Ph.D., FACSM is the director of the Walking Behavior Laboratory at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge. She is a walking behavior researcher and an expert in the use of objective physical activity monitoring devices to assess and intervene on ambulatory activity. She has worked to establish standardized measurement protocols and to develop theory-based programs – all aimed at producing a definitive answer to the question of “how many steps are enough?” This commentary presents Dr. Tudor-Locke’s views related to the research article she and her colleagues published in the Dec. 2010 Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise®.

In Dec. 2010, my colleagues (Drs. William Johnson and Peter Katzmarzyk) and I published “Accelerometer-determined steps per day in U.S. Children and Youth” in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise®. The data for the analysis was based on 2,610 children (6-11 years of age) and youth (12-19 years of age) participating in the 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) Physical Activity Monitor (PAM) component. The accelerometer model (ActiGraph AM-7164) used is a research instrument designed to be sensitive to even very low force steps. In order to provide steps/day values more comparable with pedometers (that are more likely to be adopted by practitioners and lay public), we removed these low force steps during the analysis. Since the NHANES is a nationally representative survey, our findings can be generalized to the U.S. population.

We observed that six-year-old boys in the U.S. take approximately 12,000 steps per day, and these values decrease steadily throughout youth until they average approximately 9,500 steps per day at 18 years of age. U.S. girls take about 10,000 steps per day at six years of age and their values also steadily decline until they average approximately 6,000 steps per day at 18 years of age. These steps per day values are considerably lower than those reported for children and youth from other countries. Although the choice of instrumentation may impact the exact values compared to studies using other technologies, what remains clear is an overall decreasing steps per day pattern in both sexes that portrays a disconcerting early peak at six years of age. In contrast, a recent 13-country review of pedometer-determined physical activity collected around the world reported an increase in steps per day from 6 to 11-12 years of age before a subsequent decline is observed. It is tempting to point out that Bruce Springsteen’s “Glory Days” might be referring to six-year-olds in the U.S. However, the evidence of such a pattern is a non-trivial finding that carries with it disturbing ramifications, among them increased risk for obesity and cardiometabolic diseases, as well as early morbidity and mortality compared to previous generations.More

Policy Corner: Prescribing Physical Activity Makes Both Fiscal and Health Sense

ACSM has been promoting the value of the Exercise is Medicine® initiative, the goal of which is to ensure health care providers are promoting and prescribing, as appropriate, physical activity for their patients. Prescribing physical activity for preventing and treating various conditions is a reality for health care professionals all over the world. Recent news from the Swedish Research Council shows that 90 percent of all primary care centers in Sweden prescribe physical activity. The book Physical Activity in the Prevention and Treatment of Disease is often used in Sweden as a handbook when prescribing physical activity. Recently, this book at the forefront of the Swedish health care system has been translated into English.

Written by 95 experts, Physical Activity in the Prevention and Treatment of Disease summarizes up-to-date scientific knowledge on preventing and treating various diseases and conditions on which physical activity has a documented effect. The first Swedish edition of the book came out in 2003, and a revised and expanded edition was published in 2008. The book was prepared by the editorial board of Professional Associations for Physical Activity, a sub-section of the Swedish Society of Medicine, and it was produced in cooperation with Swedish National Institute of Public Health. In Sweden, health care professionals have been prescribing physical activity to patients for many years.More

VISTA 2011 Conference Offers a Multidisciplinary Approach to Paralympic Success

The 2011 VISTA Conference, presented by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), will be held Aug. 31 to Sept. 3, 2011 in Bonn, Germany. Building on the success of previous VISTA conferences in Jasper (Canada, 1993), Cologne (Germany, 1999), Bollnas (Sweden, 2003) and Bonn (Germany, 2006), VISTA 2011 will be the gathering place for scientists, coaches, athletes, officials and administrators interested in exchanging scientific knowledge and expertise and promoting cross-disciplinary professional interaction on Paralympic Sport.

ACSM is proud to partner with the IPC on this important conference. The need for greater opportunities to discuss and exchange knowledge has catapulted the VISTA Conference to be the preeminent international event on elite sports for athletes with disabilities. The VISTA Conference promotes and advances the mission, goals, objectives and reputation of the IPC, and it provides a platform for sports scientists to meet and engage with experts on sports for disabled athletes.

All conference details, including registration and abstract submission procedures, are available on the IPC website at

Healthy People 2020 Launches; Exercise Is Medicine® Goals Included

For three decades, Healthy People has provided science-based, 10-year national objectives for improving the health of all Americans. Last week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) launched Healthy People 2020, the fourth iteration of the U.S. national health objectives. Healthy People 2020 continues the tradition and reflects a renewed focus on identifying, measuring, tracking and reducing health disparities through a determinants of health approach.

From ACSM’s perspective, Healthy People 2020 represents a huge step forward for the Exercise is Medicine® initiative. Exercise is Medicine has long advocated for inclusion of physical activity counseling and education in the U.S. national health objectives. Not only does Healthy People 2020 call for an increase in physical activity counseling and education by physicians for patients with chronic conditions, but it also calls for an increase in counseling and education for all patients. ACSM submitted testimony in favor of these national goals and was represented at conferences developing Healthy People 2020. ACSM is pleased to see that the U.S. national health objectives now officially support and reflect the aims of Exercise Is Medicine. Learn more about the topics and objectives of Healthy People 2020.More

Early Bird Registration Ends Dec. 15 for 2011 Team Physician Course, Part II

Early bird registration for ACSM’s 2011 Team Physician Course, Part II ends Dec. 15 – register online today!

The 2011 ACSM Team Physician Course, Part II will be held in San Diego from Feb. 9-13. This course meets the needs of clinical practitioners who care for and manage athletic teams as part of their practice, and it will offer unique educational opportunities in musculosketal, conditioning/training, pharmacological and nutritional categories. Attendees can earn AMA/PRA credits, CMEs and CEUs. View the advance program. More

Science & Research Update: Fatty Diet During Pregnancy Affects Child's Obesity Risk

New research may have identified the reason a mother’s fatty diet during pregnancy gives her child a greater risk of being overweight or obese, according to the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) who announced these findings last month in their FASEB Journal. ACSM is a member organization of FASEB.

According to the study, pregnant primate females who consumed a high-fat diet altered the function of fetal genes that regulate circadian rhythm (including appetite and food intake) during development. As a result, the offspring also had non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. While researchers say they will continue to research the pivotal role maternal health plays in guiding the health of the next generation, they believe even small changes, such as reducing the fat in one’s diet during pregnancy, could help reduce the epidemic of childhood obesity in the U.S.More

Diabetics Should Exercise 150 Minutes a Week
Los Angeles Times
People with Type 2 diabetes should get 150 minutes of aerobic exercise a week, according to a new recommendation written in part by an Old Dominion University professor.

"There is probably not a better medicine out there for people with diabetes than exercise," said Sheri Colberg-Ochs, an ODU exercise science professor.

Colberg-Ochs chaired a committee that wrote the position paper for the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Diabetes Association. It was published in the December issues of the journals Diabetes Care and Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. More

Doctors Say Most PE Lessons Neglect All-Round Fitness
BBC News
Leading sports doctors have strongly criticised the way PE is being taught in English schools.

Experts say many children do not get a proper workout which helps them develop coordination, strength and agility.

The British Association of Sports and Exercise Medicine wants all schools to use a short exercise routine called "five-in-five". More