FITNESS FOR KIDS : ACSM Active Voice: Daily Step Count Targets for the Early Years

Active Voice: Daily Step Count Targets for the Early Years

By Brian W. Timmons, Ph.D.

Viewpoints presented in SMB commentaries reflect opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect positions or policies of ACSM. 

Dr. Brian Timmons is research director of the Child Health & Exercise Medicine Program at McMaster University and associate professor in the Department of Paediatrics. Brian is an ACSM member and his research involves the health effects of physical activity during growth, with a major emphasis on the role of physical activity during the early years.

This commentary presents Dr. Timmons’ views associated with a related research report that he and his colleagues presented in the February 2013 issue of ACSM’s
 Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise® (MSSE). 

Early childhood is a critical time for the development of active living. Our society has assumed that preschoolers are “active enough,” but some research suggests this may not be the case. One of the limitations to our understanding of preschooler physical activity has been an incomplete understanding of “how much is enough.” New Canadian physical activity guidelinesrecommend that children aged three to four years should accumulate at least 180 min. of physical activity, at any intensity, spread throughout the day, including progression toward at least 60 min. of energetic play by five years of age. 

One of the best ways to measure physical activity is to use an accelerometer – a small pager-like device worn on a belt around the waist. An accelerometer isn’t for everyone because it can be expensive and requires complex software for data analysis. We wondered if simply counting the number of steps taken by a child could be another way to identify who is meeting physical activity recommendations. The purpose of our study, as recently reported in MSSE, was to determine thresholds for daily step counts in preschool-aged children, with reference to these new Canadian guidelines. Specifically, we determined the number of children meeting at least 180 minutes of physical activity at any intensity, and the number of children who were engaged in at least 180 minutes of physical activity at any intensity and which included at least 60 minutes of energetic play. The latter we defined as moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). 

We asked 133 preschoolers to wear an accelerometer for seven consecutive days. Every three seconds, the accelerometer recorded and stored information about both physical activity and step counts. The physical activity information was then analyzed to determine how many minutes were spent at different intensities, including energetic play, using published thresholds developed specifically for preschoolers. We then compared the number of steps children were taking with the amount of physical activity they were getting. With this information, we could determine how many daily steps were equivalent to meeting the new Canadian physical activity recommendations. 
We found that the number of daily steps equivalent to achieving 180 min. of physical activity of any intensity was 6013. The number of daily steps equivalent to achieving 180 min. of physical activity of any intensity, including at least 60 min. of energetic play (or MVPA), was 6191. We then conducted more analysis to determine what the best single step count should be. This value was 6000 steps per day. 
In the last five years, physical activity recommendations for preschoolers have been prepared by three countries – Australia, the UK, and Canada – demonstrating the high degree of scientific interest in monitoring physical activity behaviors during the early years. Finding an easy, inexpensive way to determine whether young children are meeting current physical activity guidelines should be of benefit to health practitioners. Our study found that preschoolers who achieve at least 6000 steps every day are likely to be meeting the new Canadian physical activity guidelines of 180 min of physical activity at any intensity, including at least 60 min. of energetic play. 

For more information on physical activity and health in preschool children, please visit
to download the latest issue of Preschooler Focus.


MapetiteNiche Commentary: As an exercise instructor who has taught in elementary schools, I cannot stress the importance of physical activity. This is the time to teach kids lessons about healthy lifestyle choices. I strongly believe in exercise as preventive medicine and this also applies to kids. The rate of child hood obesity is unbelievably high and instead of looking at pharmaceuticals as the solution, Physical Activity should be the first choice of dealing with this epidermic.

Additional efforts should be made to educate parents and communities because they are responsible for the care of the child.

The Arthur Ashe 2013 Courage Award - Robin Roberts

One  of the segments of the ESPY - Excellence In Sports Performance Yearly Awards, is honoring an individual with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. Although the award has an "athletic" background being that it is  named after the famous American tennis player, Arthur Ashe, it can be awarded to non-professional athletes. And this year, that is going to be the case on July 17th 2013.

The Arthur Ashe award is given to someone who is engaged in the athletic community but who is also very engaged in their community. According to ESPN, the award is given to someone who "reflect the spirit of Arthur Ashe, possessing strength in the face of adversity, courage in the face of peril and the willingness to stand up for their beliefs no matter what the cost".

This year's recipient is GOOD MORNING AMERICA co-host Robin Roberts

Today everybody knows Robin as the cool anchor on Good Morning America but before that, she played and worked in the sports industry. While in college, Robin played basketball. After school, she worked as a sports anchor and reporter for several companies including ESPN's SportsCenter

In her personal life, Robin has battled both breast cancer and the myelodysplastic syndrome. The latter required her to take a leave of absence from GMA to undergo bone marrow transplant. 

I'm glad that she's using her medium as a public figure to bring awareness to these medical conditions. Since coming out about her illness, there's been an increase in volunteer bone marrow donors.

Congratulations to Robin Robert and I'm impress that throughout her ordeal, she never lost her sparkle and still keeps us entertained on GMA


Read more here:

Boston Marathon 2013

As an avid news reader and watcher, every time I learn about something bad happening in some city or country, I sympathize with the citizens.  I try to imagine how they go about their daily lives admits the chaos. But no amount of visualizing or education can prepare you when it happens it your city, in your backyard. Being that this is an exercise blog and I LOVE RUNNING.... of course I attended events all through last week  (Marathon week), taking pictures here and there with the hopes of delighting my readers with Boston Marathon Week. Now all of that seems so insignificant.

I want to thank all my readers, my followers on twitter, facebook and instagram, my family, friends and acquaintances, who all reached out to make sure I was ok. I am humbled by your gestures. I will not be posting any bombing related pics because I don't want to take away from the Good things that DID happen. 

Besides, I think we are all getting an overload of gory details from the media anyways.

I took some personal time off to come to terms with what happened and will resume blogging soon.

Once again, THANK YOU . MERCI. Je vous embrasse

Instagram UpDate

Follow me On Instagram : @Laurettaashu
Where I post about my every day exercise routines and other wellness info pics
4months and I still havent been inside a gym. I believe you don't need a gym membership to exercise. Use the things around you. A running trail. A local park. A play ground. A bench. A chair and many more options than can be found by browsing my blog :)

Bill Gates Commentary on Ghana's Immunization System

From: The Gates Notes

What I’m Learning about Ghana

I arrive in Ghana today to see firsthand why the country’s immunization system is working so well and meet the people involved.
For some people, health delivery systems might not seem like the most intriguing topic, but I am really interested in understanding how they’ve done so much of this right. Strong immunization systems are crucial for protecting our gains against polio and helping us reach mothers and children with new vaccines and other life-saving health services. In Ghana, for example, polio was eliminated a decade ago and an outbreak in 2008 was quickly controlled. No child there has died from measles since 2002. And Ghana was the first country to launch two new vaccines last April, against rotavirus, which causes severe diarrhea, and pneumococcal pneumonia.
Ghana’s approach works so well for a few key reasons: 
1.Rigorous data gathering and analysis
2. accountability at the district level, and 
3. community outreach. 
Just as importantly, the vaccination program is fully integrated into the health system.
  But there’s really no substitute for seeing it on the ground.
Tomorrow we’re going to visit a director of health services in a district in central Ghana, then a nearby clinic.  We’re then going to visit a community health center where the nurses also go out to find mothers who missed appointments or children due for immunizations to make the program as thorough as possible
As I wrote in my annual letter this year, measurement is crucial for improving health care, so at every stop I want to understand how the data is collected and used for planning and decision making – and meet the people who are making this success possible.
I plan to share my experience in Ghana at the Global Vaccine Summit in Abu Dhabi April 24-25, where global health leaders will celebrate progress in immunization and demonstrate how the world is united to give all children a healthy start to life.
Of course, no system is perfect, so I want to learn about the obstacles and challenges in Ghana as well. I’ll speak with many of the leaders who are working so hard to reach every child with vaccines, including Dr K.O. Antwi-Agyei, who manages the national immunization program.  
I’m also excited to talk to some of the well-trained community health nurses and meet some of their local clients. 
In my next post I’ll tell you about the people I’m meeting and some of the lessons we can learn from Ghana’s success.
Mapetiteniche commentary : Every good or positive article about Africa in the media is something to celebrate given the history of bad and sometimes false portrayals. I'm glad that Bill Gates is using his public figure status to shed light on the issue of immunization in Africa. It pains me to hear about people dying of preventive and curable disease because there is a lack of healthcare management programs. Or access to vaccines. I don't see why other African countries facing similar outbreaks cannot emulate the successful programs established in Ghana. I will be following up with his notes regarding this topic

Inspiration du Jour :Chessboard Queen: Phiona Mutesi (UGANDA)

From the Daily Beast
Phiona Mutesi recently became the first female to play in–and win–Uganda’s National Junior Men’s Chess Tournament, forcing the competition to be renamed. Born and raised in Uganda’s largest ghetto, Mutesi has traveled the world since she started playing chess almost a decade ago. In 2012 she became one of the first titled female chess players in Uganda’s history. The same year, her biography was published, and Disney optioned her story for an upcoming film.

Cassey Ho : BLOGILATES, the Thunder Thighs killer

This is Cassey Ho. She's a Pilates instructor and fitness expert. She also has a YOUTUBE channel with posts about different exercise routines. Her routines are FUN and like she says it, they will KILL KILL KILL your body. Definitely check her out. She is my first option on a bad weather day when I have to workout indoor. 

One of the fun things she's known for is creating exercise routines around popular pop culture musics. Its a segment on her YouTube channel called POP PILATES

You get to listen to your favourite guilty pleasures...justin bibier anyone?.....while working out.

Another reason I love doing her workouts is her energy. She is always SO EXCITED it feels like some of it oozes out of my Samsung notepad. Her exuberance is my alternative to an espresso shot after a long day.
Lastly, as you all know by now, I try to post workouts that require VERY minimum equipment and can be done at home. All of her videos can be performed at home. They are Pilates and yoga infused = free body weight Exercises.

Here are some of her routines


Rutger University Men's Basket Ball : Abusive Coach Fired

Coach Mike Rice was fired following videos captured during practice sessions in which he was being very abusive towards the players.

I don't have anything to say about the coach. Clearly he has anger management problems.

There's a fine line between screaming at players because they are not listening to you versus verbally/physically abusing them.

Yes, in my book, throwing a basketball at someone with the intent to hit/hurt them constitutes physical abuse. In the video he throws the ball at a player's HEAD

According to the news outlets, this video was shot in NOVEMBER 2012.

WHY did it take this long to be released?

Why did the players not speak out until now?

Where they waiting for march madness to be over? 

Where they scared about losing their scholarships?

I watched this from a news show and a player being interviewed said " he didnt mind it"....why? I hope he was taken out of context and would have loved to hear his complete interview.

Yes, men are suppose to be tougher and you can "push" them more during coaching but players should  understand the difference between tough love and abuse.

And I read comments on social media supporting the coach...calling it tough love and that the players should be grateful because the coach is going to take them to the NBA. Really? 

Lastly, the athletic director Tim Pernitti needs to be fired too because he knew about this. He saw the videos and only suspended the coach for 3 games with a $50,000 fine. Why do these administrators always want to wait until there are casualties before they act? aka penn state sex abuse scandal

In the video you can see the coach throwing the basketball at point blank range on a player's HEAD! Its bad enough you have to worry about injury during games but now you also have to worry about injuries from your hot tempered coach? Did the athletic director want to see evidence of players injured during practice by the coach before he fired him?

Tim Pernitti needs to be fired. And am pretty sure that will happened as the new media continues to cover this.

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