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Background: Despite their increased use, no studies have examined the validity of Actical accelerometry cut points for moderate physical activity (PA) in underserved (low-income, high-crime), minority populations. The high rates of chronic disease and physical inactivity in these populations likely impact the measurement of PA. There is growing concern that traditionally defined cut points may be too high for older or inactive adults. The present study aimed to determine the self-selected pace associated with instructions to "walk for exercise" and the corresponding accelerometry estimates (e.g. Actical counts/minute) for underserved, African American adults.

Method: Fifty one participants (61% women) had a mean age of 60.1 (SD=9.9) and a mean body mass index of 30.5 kg/m2 (SD=60). They performed one seated task, on standing task, and three walking tasks: "strolling"; "walking for exercise"; and "walking in an emergency."

Results: The average pace for strolling, walking for exercise, and walking in an emergency were 1.62 miles per hour (mph; SD=.51), 2.51 mph (SD=.53), and 2.86 mph (SD=.58), respectively. Regression analyses showed that the predicted counts/minute for a pace of 2.0 mph (which is used as the criterion for moderate exercise in this study) was 1075 counts/minute (SEM=73).

Conclusions: The cut point associated with subjectively determined moderate PA is similar to those previously published for older adults and extends to the use of adjusted cut points to African American populations. These results indicate that accurate cut points can be obtained using this innovative methodology.

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