Physical Activity Profile of Old Order Amish, Mennonite, and Contemporary Children

School of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, Devon, United Kingdom.
Medicine and science in sports and exercise (Impact Factor: 3.98). 11/2009; 42(2):296-303. DOI: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181b3afd2
Source: PubMed


This study explored the influence of modernity on the physical activity behaviors (e.g., intensity and timing) of children.
Children aged 8-13 yr living a traditional lifestyle (Old Order Amish [OOA], n = 68; Old Order Mennonite [OOM], n = 120) were compared with children living a contemporary lifestyle (rural Saskatchewan [RSK], n = 132; urban Saskatchewan [USK], n = 93). Physical activity was objectively assessed for seven consecutive days using Actigraph 7164 accelerometers. Custom software was used to reduce the raw accelerometer data into standardized outcome variables.
On weekdays, there were group differences in moderate physical activity between all lifestyle groups (OOA > OOM > USK > RSK). On the weekend, the group differences in moderate physical activity persisted between, but not within, lifestyle groups (OOA = OOM > USK = RSK). During school hours, all groups had similar activity and inactivity periods; however, they differed in magnitude, with the OOA and OOM being both more sedentary and more active. In comparison with the children in school, the OOA and the OOM children had 44% lower sedentary time out of school compared with only 15% lower for RSK and USK children.
Although cross sectional, these data suggest that contemporary/modern living is associated with lower levels of moderate- and vigorous-intensity physical activity compared with lifestyles representative of earlier generations. Analyzing the physical activity and inactivity patterns of traditional lifestyle groups such as the OOA and the OOM can provide valuable insight into the quantity and quality of physical activity necessary to promote health.

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    • "They were to wear the device during their waking hours and take it off only for bathing and swimming. As described in a previous publication [24], raw PA counts were acquired in 15 seconds epochs and reintegrated into intensity categories using a specially designed software program (KineSoft, Saskatoon, Sask, Canada) that has been used in previous publications [25, 26]. Being consistent with previous research among adolescents, raw cut-points of ≥1500 counts per minute were used to classify MVPA, and the acceptable wear time criteria were defined as a minimum of 3 days and 480 registered minutes (i.e., 8 hours) of wear time at each data collection [27]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Lower levels of physical activity are associated with childhood obesity. School physical education (PE) policies have been identified as critical to improve child and adolescent physical activity levels but there has been little evaluation of such policies. In the province of Manitoba, Canada, the government implemented a mandatory PE policy in secondary schools designed to increase the daily physical activity levels of adolescents. The objective of this study was to examine the longitudinal changes in and the factors associated with the physical activity trajectories of adolescents in Manitoba during their tenure as secondary school students in the context of this school PE policy. The results found, despite the PE policy, a grade-related decline in the physical activity trajectories of adolescents; however, the decline in physical activity was attenuated among adolescents with low and moderate baseline physical activity compared to adolescents with high baseline physical activity and among adolescents who attended schools in neighbourhoods of low compared to high socioeconomic status. There are several possible explanations for these findings, including the influence of the PE policy on the PA patterns of adolescent subpopulations that tend to be at higher risk for inactivity in both childhood and adult life.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · Journal of obesity
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    • "The duration of daily wear time must be long enough to remove days when the accelerometer was not worn but short enough to prevent unnecessary days being removed from analyses, and the number of days the accelerometer needs to worn by each child must provide a reliable estimate of children’s habitual PA. No single value has been used by large-scale studies in children to define the minimum daily wear time: thresholds have ranged from at least four [7] to at least 10 [3], [4], [5], [8], [9] hours per day. Large-scale accelerometer studies in children have also used a range of thresholds to define the minimum number of wear days required by each child to be included in analyses, although at least three days per child has been most commonly used [4], [5], [10], [11]. "
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    ABSTRACT: When using accelerometers to measure physical activity, researchers need to determine whether subjects have worn their device for a sufficient period to be included in analyses. We propose a minimum wear criterion using population-based accelerometer data, and explore the influence of gender and the purposeful inclusion of children with weekend data on reliability. Accelerometer data obtained during the age seven sweep of the UK Millennium Cohort Study were analysed. Children were asked to wear an ActiGraph GT1M accelerometer for seven days. Reliability coefficients(r) of mean daily counts/minute were calculated using the Spearman-Brown formula based on the intraclass correlation coefficient. An r of 1.0 indicates that all the variation is between- rather than within-children and that measurement is 100% reliable. An r of 0.8 is often regarded as acceptable reliability. Analyses were repeated on data from children who met different minimum daily wear times (one to 10 hours) and wear days (one to seven days). Analyses were conducted for all children, separately for boys and girls, and separately for children with and without weekend data. At least one hour of wear time data was obtained from 7,704 singletons. Reliability increased as the minimum number of days and the daily wear time increased. A high reliability (r = 0.86) and sample size (n = 6,528) was achieved when children with ≥ two days lasting ≥10 hours/day were included in analyses. Reliability coefficients were similar for both genders. Purposeful sampling of children with weekend data resulted in comparable reliabilities to those calculated independent of weekend wear. Quality control procedures should be undertaken before analysing accelerometer data in large-scale studies. Using data from children with ≥ two days lasting ≥10 hours/day should provide reliable estimates of physical activity. It's unnecessary to include only children with accelerometer data collected during weekends in analyses.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · PLoS ONE
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    • "In OOA children, compared with ES children, time spent in light activity was up from 408 to 442 min/day, and more dramatically, time spent in MVPA doubled from 53 to 106 min/day. These findings agree with those of Esliger et al. (18), who reported high levels of PA in a sample of Amish children residing in Canada. The magnitude of the differences in PA between the OOA and the ES is intriguing because other studies (6,7) comparing groups whose environments were thought to differ crucially found that the groups had similar levels of PA. "
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE The Old Order Amish (OOA) is a conservative Christian sect of European origin living in Pennsylvania. Diabetes is rare in adult OOA despite a mean BMI rivaling that in the general U.S. non-Hispanic white population. The current study examines childhood factors that may contribute to the low prevalence of diabetes in the OOA by comparing OOA children aged 8 to 19 years with National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data and children from Maryland's Eastern Shore (ES), a nearby, non-Amish, rural community. We hypothesized that pediatric overweight is less common in OOA children, that physical activity (PA) and BMI are inversely correlated, and that OOA children are more physically active than ES children.RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS We obtained anthropometric data in 270 OOA children and 229 ES children (166 non-Hispanic white, 60 non-Hispanic black, 3 Hispanic). PA was measured by hip-worn accelerometers in all ES children and in 198 OOA children. Instrumentation in 43 OOA children was identical to ES children.RESULTSOOA children were approximately 3.3 times less likely than non-Hispanic white ES children and NHANES estimates to be overweight (BMI ≥85th percentile, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Time spent in moderate/vigorous PA (MVPA) was inversely correlated to BMI z score (r = -0.24, P = 0.0006). PA levels did not differ by ethnicity within the ES group, but OOA children spent an additional 34 min/day in light activity (442 ± 56 vs. 408 ± 75, P = 0.005) and, impressively, an additional 53 min/day in MVPA (106 ± 54 vs. 53 ± 32, P < 0.0001) compared with ES children. In both groups, boys were more active than girls but OOA girls were easily more active than ES boys.CONCLUSIONS We confirmed all three hypotheses. Together with our previous data, the study implies that the OOA tend to gain their excess weight relatively late in life and that OOA children are very physically active, both of which may provide some long-term protection against diabetes.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2012 · Diabetes care
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