Estimating historical changes in physical activity levels.

G.J. Egger, N. Vogels, K.R. Westerterp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective
To compare activity levels between a simulated “historical” lifestyle and a “modern” lifestyle to try to validate earlier estimates of secular changes in activity.
Design
Triaxial accelerometers (TRACMORs) were used to measure activity levels in a “historical” group of seven male actors who were paid to live like early Australian settlers at a theme park north of Sydney (eg, minimising the use of modern technology) for a week. Results were compared with those from a group of seven “modern” sedentary office workers.
Results
Activity levels were up to 2.3 times greater in the historical group than the modern group. Calculations based on body weight and energy expenditure suggest the difference is the equivalent of walking up to 16 km per day more in the past than today.
Conclusions
These findings accord with two previous estimates of changes in daily activity levels over time and suggest that recent public health guidelines for increasing physical activity may be inadequate.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)635-636
Number of pages2
JournalMedical Journal of Australia
Volume175
Issue number11-12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2001

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