Walking cadence and cardiovascular risk in children and adolescents: NHANES, 2005-2006

Tiago V. Barreira, Peter T. Katzmarzyk, William D. Johnson, Catrine Tudor-Locke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background Peak cadence (steps/minute) has been presented as an indicator of children's and adolescents' best natural daily effort. Purpose The goal of the study was to determine the relationship between peak walking cadence and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors in children and adolescents. Methods Data from the 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey on accelerometer, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, BMI, and blood pressure from 1817 children and adolescents (aged 8-18 years) were analyzed in 2012. Participants were stratified based on CVD risk factors (0, 1, and ≥2) and age (8-11, 12-15, and 16-18 years). Age-specific trends were evaluated in peak 1-minute cadence (steps/minute recorded for the highest single minute in a day) and peak 30-minute and 60-minute cadence (average of the highest steps/minute recorded for the specified number of minutes, not necessarily consecutive) across strata. Results Across ascending age groups, peak 1-minute, 30-minute, and 60-minute cadence ranged from 123 to 111, 87 to 82, and 74 to 68 steps/minute, respectively. Peak 60-minute cadence means trended lower across groups of children with higher numbers of risk factors (p=0.02) in the age group 8-11 years; means similarly trended lower for all peak cadence indicators (all p for trend <0.01) in the age group 12-15 years; analogous trends were also significant in the age group 16-18 years. Conclusions Results varied with age; however, children and adolescents who on average had higher peak cadence indicators tended to have fewer CVD risk factors. These cross-sectional data suggest that a simple indicator of best natural daily effort may play an important role in early progression of unfavorable cardiometabolic health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e27-e34
JournalAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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