Publication Abstract

Authors: Spruijt-Metz D, Troiano R, Thornquist M, Sirard J, Redline S, Berrigan D

Title: Objective and subjective measures of physical activity in youth: emerging challenges for analysis and interpretation

Journal: 7(Suppl 3):S314-26

Date: 2010 Nov

Abstract: Physical activity (PA) is an important component of obesity prevention and treatment. However, measurement of PA is complex. Modalities of measurement and choices made during data reduction can influence data interpretation. In this symposium, 4 major challenges in PA measurement were highlighted: 1) agreement between objectively and subjectively measured PA in a large nationally representative sample, 2) significant effects of different cutoff values used to process accelerometry data on PA outcome variables in youth, 3) advantages and pitfalls of collection of sleep and PA data with 1 accelerometer in youth, and 4) how measurement modalities and choices made during data reduction can influence observed relationships between PA and physiological outcomes including adiposity and insulin resistance in youth. Results of these 4 studies have implications for a) interpretation of research on PA, sleep, and health-related outcomes, b) design of future PA research, and c) public health efforts to promote PA. In summary, objective measurement of PA represents a significant advance over the sole use of self report. However, there are a variety of challenges associated with the use of objectively measured PA data and there are substantial new opportunities emerging as technology advances.