Measurement of active and sedentary behavior in context of large epidemiologic studies

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Journal Article
Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 2018, 50 (2), pp. 266 - 276
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Copyright © 2017 by the American College of Sports Medicine Introduction/Purpose: To assess the utility of measurement methods that may be more accurate and precise than traditional questionnaire-based estimates of habitual physical activity and sedentary behavior we compared the measurement properties of a past year questionnaire (AARP) and more comprehensive measures: an internet-based 24-h recall (ACT24), and a variety of estimates from an accelerometer (ActiGraph). Methods: Participants were 932 adults (50-74 yr) in a 12-month study that included reference measures of energy expenditure from doubly labeled water (DLW) and active and sedentary time via activPAL. Results: Accuracy at the group level (mean differences) was generally better for both ACT24 and ActiGraph than the AARP questionnaire. The AARP accuracy for energy expenditure ranged from j4% to j13% lower than DLW, but its accuracy was poorer for physical activity duration (j48%) and sedentary time (j18%) versus activPAL. In contrast, ACT24 accuracy was within 3% to 10% of DLW expenditure measures and within 1% to 3% of active and sedentary time from activPAL. For ActiGraph, accuracy for energy expenditure was best for the Crouter 2-regression method (j2% to j7%), and for active and sedentary time the 100 counts per minute cutpoint was most accurate (j1% to 2%) at the group level. One administration of the AARP questionnaire was significantly correlated with long-term average from the reference measures (Q TX = 0.16-0.34) overall, but four ACT24 recalls had higher correlations (Q TX = 0.48-0.60), as did 4 d of ActiGraph assessment (Q TX = 0.54-0.87). Conclusions: New exposure assessments suitable for use in large epidemiologic studies (ACT24, ActiGraph) were more accurate and had higher correlations than a traditional questionnaire. Use of better more comprehensive measures in future epidemiologic studies could yield new etiologic discoveries and possibly new opportunities for prevention.
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