Comparison of 3 Measures of Physical Activity and Associations With Blood Pressure, HDL, and Body Composition in a Sample of Adolescents

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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The association of physical activity (PA), measured 3 ways, and biomarkers were compared in a sample of adolescents.


PA data were collected on 2 cohorts of adolescents (N = 700) in the Twin Cities, Minnesota, 2007–2008. PA was measured using 2 survey questions [Modified Activity Questionnaire (MAQ)], the 3-Day Physical Activity Recall (3DPAR), and accelerometers. Biomarkers included systolic (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP), lipids, percent body fat (%BF), and body mass index (BMI) percentile. Bivariate relationships among PA measures and biomarkers were examined followed by generalized estimating equations for multivariate analysis.


The 3 measures were significantly correlated with each other (r = .22–.36, P < .001). Controlling for study, puberty, age, and gender, all 3 PA measures were associated with %BF (MAQ = −1.93, P < .001; 3DPAR = −1.64, P < .001; accelerometer = −1.06, P = .001). The MAQ and accelerometers were negatively associated with BMI percentile. None of the 3 PA measures were significantly associated with SBP or lipids. The percentage of adolescents meeting the national PA recommendations varied by instrument.


All 3 instruments demonstrated consistent findings when estimating associations with %BF, but were different for prevalence estimates. Researchers must carefully consider the intended use of PA data when choosing a measurement instrument.

Hearst and Lytle are with the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN. Sirard is with the Curry School of Education and Kinesiology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA . Dengel is with the Dept of Kinesiology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN. Berrigan is with the National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD.