Accelerometer measured physical activity (PA) studies particularly in non-western populations are lacking. Therefore, this study investigated stepping activity in a multi-ethnic urban Asian population.
Adult participants from the Singapore Health Study 2 consented to accelerometer activity monitoring for 7-consecutive days. Mean daily step count, peak stepping intensity (i.e. cadence) over 1-min, 30-min and 60-min and time spent in each cadence band: 0 (non-movement), 1–19, 20–39, 40–59, 60–79, 80–99 and ≥ 100 steps/minute (moderate to vigorous PA) were calculated.
A total of 713 participants (42% male, mean age 47.8 years) were included. Overall, the mean daily step count was 7549. Mean daily step count was significantly lower in Indians (7083 adjusted p = 0.02) but not Malays 7140 (adjusted p = 0.052) compared to Chinese (7745 steps). The proportion of Malays, Indians, and Chinese achieving < 5000 daily steps was 26%, 23% and 14%, respectively (p < 0.01). Regardless of ethnicity, approximately half of the recorded time was spent undertaking 0-steps/minute (7.9 h).
Greater promotion of brisk walking is required in light of the low step volume and pace observed in this multi-ethnic Asian population. Ethnic differences in stepping activity were also identified which indicates a need for targeted ethnic specific health promotion interventions.