Kelley K. Pettee Gabriel, James R. Morrow Jr. and Anne-Lorraine T. Woolsey
The selection of the most psychometrically appropriate self-report tool(s) to measure specific physical activity constructs has been a challenge for researchers, public health practitioners, and clinicians, alike. The lack of a reasonable gold standard measure and inconsistent use of established and evolving terminology have contributed to these challenges. The variation of self-report measures and quality of the derived summary estimates could be attributed to the absence of a standardized conceptual framework for physical activity.
To present a conceptual framework for physical activity as a complex and multidimensional behavior that differentiates behavioral and physiological constructs of human movement.
The development of a conceptual framework can provide the basic foundation from which to standardize definitions, guide design and development of self-report measures, and provide consistency during instrument selection.
Based on our proposed conceptual framework for physical activity, we suggest that physical activity is more clearly defined as the behavior that involves human movement, resulting in physiological attributes including increased energy expenditure and improved physical fitness. Utilization of the proposed conceptual framework can result in better instrument choices and consistency in methods used to assess physical activity and sedentary behaviors across research and public health practice.
Richard P. Troiano, Kelley K. Pettee Gabriel, Gregory J. Welk, Neville Owen and Barbara Sternfeld
Advances in device-based measures have led researchers to question the value of reported measures of physical activity or sedentary behavior. The premise of the Workshop on Measurement of Active and Sedentary Behaviors: Closing the Gaps in Self-Report Methods, held in July 2010, was that assessment of behavior by self-report is a valuable approach.
To provide suggestions to optimize the value of reported physical activity and sedentary behavior, we 1) discuss the constructs that devices and reports of behavior can measure, 2) develop a framework to help guide decision-making about the best approach to physical activity and sedentary behavior assessment in a given situation, and 3) address the potential for combining reported behavior methods with device-based monitoring to enhance both approaches.
After participation in a workshop breakout session, coauthors summarized the ideas presented and reached consensus on the material presented here.
To select appropriate physical activity assessment methods and correctly interpret the measures obtained, researchers should carefully consider the purpose for assessment, physical activity constructs of interest, characteristics of the population and measurement tool, and the theoretical link between the exposure and outcome of interest.