Step-Based Metrics and Translations of Physical Activity Guidelines among Adults in the HCHS/SOL

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2023 Aug 1;55(8):1423-1433. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000003177. Epub 2023 Mar 29.


Purpose: In a cross-sectional sample of US Hispanic/Latino adults, we aimed to describe step-based metric distributions, estimate their associations with activity counts and self-report, and calibrate step-based translations of current (2018) US physical activity (PA) guidelines, that is, ≥150 min·wk -1 moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA) from accelerometer counts and self-report.

Methods: The Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos enrolled 16,415 Hispanic/Latino adults 18-74 yr from four US cities (2008-2011). Participants completed the Global PA Questionnaire and 1 wk of Actical accelerometer wear ( n = 12,528). Weighted medians were used to describe step-based metrics, and Spearman correlations estimated their relationships with count-based and self-reported PA indicators. Receiver operator characteristic curve analyses were used to examine the ability of each step-based metric to classify participants meeting PA guidelines.

Results: Overall, US Hispanic/Latino adults accumulated medians of 6770 steps per day and 6, 18, 236, and 630 min·d -1 at ≥100, ≥70, 1-69, and 0 steps per minute, respectively. Count-based time in MVPA, light PA, and sedentary behavior were most strongly correlated ( rs = 0.79-0.85) with times ≥70, 1-69, and 0 steps per minute, respectively, whereas self-reported MVPA had similar correlations with steps per day and times ≥40 and ≥70 steps per minute ( rs = 0.28-0.29). Time ≥70 steps per minute had the greatest capacity to classify participants meeting PA guidelines with both measures of MVPA.

Conclusions: This study provides the first normative values (based on percentiles) of step-based metrics for US Hispanic/Latino adults, which can facilitate surveillance, program planning, research, and data interpretation. Our finding that PA guidelines corresponded to 6000-7000 steps per day or ~20 min·d -1 at ≥70 steps per minute with an Actical accelerometer can be considered alongside dose-response relationships with health outcomes to develop step-based recommendations that are consistent with and better communicate PA guidelines.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Accelerometry
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Benchmarking*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise* / physiology
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Self Report
  • United States
  • Young Adult