Over the last decade use of raw acceleration metrics to assess physical activity has increased. Metrics such as Euclidean Norm Minus One (ENMO), and Mean Amplitude Deviation (MAD) can be used to generate metrics which describe physical activity volume (average acceleration), intensity distribution (intensity gradient), and intensity of the most active periods (MX metrics) of the day. Presently, relatively little comparative data for these metrics exists in youth. To address this need, this study presents age- and sex-specific reference percentile values in England youth and compares physical activity volume and intensity profiles by age and sex. Wrist-worn accelerometer data from 10 studies involving youth aged 5 to 15 y were pooled. Weekday and weekend waking hours were first calculated for youth in school Years (Y) 1&2, Y4&5, Y6&7, and Y8&9 to determine waking hours durations by age-groups and day types. A valid waking hours day was defined as accelerometer wear for ≥ 600 min·d and participants with ≥ 3 valid weekdays and ≥ 1 valid weekend day were included. Mean ENMO- and MAD-generated average acceleration, intensity gradient, and MX metrics were calculated and summarised as weighted week averages. Sex-specific smoothed percentile curves were generated for each metric using Generalized Additive Models for Location Scale and Shape. Linear mixed models examined age and sex differences. The analytical sample included 1250 participants. Physical activity peaked between ages 6.5-10.5 y, depending on metric. For all metrics the highest activity levels occurred in less active participants (3 -50 percentile) and girls, 0.5 to 1.5 y earlier than more active peers, and boys, respectively. Irrespective of metric, boys were more active than girls (p 
Original languageEnglish
Article number01435
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
Issue number1
Early online date25 Mar 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Mar 2023


  • Exercise
  • Adolescent
  • Benchmarking
  • Child
  • Intensity gradient
  • MVPA
  • England
  • ENMO
  • Raw data
  • Male
  • Wrist
  • MX metrics
  • Humans
  • Female
  • Reference Values
  • Average acceleration
  • MAD
  • Youth
  • Accelerometry


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