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Utility of Computer-Assisted Approaches for Population Surveillance of Physical Activity

MeLisa Creamer, Heather R. Bowles, Belinda von Hofe, Kelley Pettee Gabriel, Harold W. Kohl III, and Adrian Bauman


Computer-assisted techniques may be a useful way to enhance physical activity surveillance and increase accuracy of reported behaviors.


Evaluate the reliability and validity of a physical activity (PA) self-report instrument administered by telephone and internet.


The telephone-administered Active Australia Survey was adapted into 2 forms for internet self-administration: survey questions only (internet-text) and with videos demonstrating intensity (internet-video). Data were collected from 158 adults (20–69 years, 61% female) assigned to telephone (telephone-interview) (n = 56), internet-text (n = 51), or internet-video (n = 51). Participants wore an accelerometer and completed a logbook for 7 days. Test-retest reliability was assessed using intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC). Convergent validity was assessed using Spearman correlations.


Strong test-retest reliability was observed for PA variables in the internet-text (ICC = 0.69 to 0.88), internet-video (ICC = 0.66 to 0.79), and telephone-interview (ICC = 0.69 to 0.92) groups (P-values < 0.001). For total PA, correlations (ρ) between the survey and Actigraph+logbook were ρ = 0.47 for the internet-text group, ρ = 0.57 for the internet-video group, and ρ = 0.65 for the telephone-interview group. For vigorous-intensity activity, the correlations between the survey and Actigraph+logbook were 0.52 for internet-text, 0.57 for internet-video, and 0.65 for telephone-interview (P < .05).


Internet-video of the survey had similar test-retest reliability and convergent validity when compared with the telephone-interview, and should continue to be developed.