International Differences in Management of Physical Activity Data: Can They Explain Some of the Difference in Prevalence Estimates?

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background:

National physical activity data suggest that there is a considerable difference in physical activity levels of US and Australian adults. Although different surveys (Active Australia and BRFSS) are used, the questions are similar. Different protocols, however, are used to estimate “activity” from the data collected. The primary aim of this study was to assess whether the 2 approaches to the management of PA data could explain some of the difference in prevalence estimates derived from the two national surveys.

Methods:

Secondary data analysis of the most recent AA survey (N = 2987).

Results:

15% of the sample was defined as “active” using Australian criteria but as “inactive” using the BRFSS protocol, even though weekly energy expenditure was commensurate with meeting current guidelines. Younger respondents (age < 45 y) were more likely to be “misclassified” using the BRFSS criteria.

Conclusions:

The prevalence of activity in Australia and the US appears to be more similar than we had previously thought.

The authors are with the School of Human Movement Studies, University of Queensland, Australia.

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