Self-report vs. objectively assessed physical activity: Which is right for public health?

Tom Loney, Martyn Standage, Dylan Thompson, Simon J. Sebire, Sean Cumming

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)


Background: To examine the agreement between self-reported and objectively assessed physical activity (PA) according to current public health recommendations. Methods: One-hundred and fourteen British University students wore a combined accelerometer and heart rate monitor (Actiheart; AHR) to estimate 24-hour energy expenditure over 7 consecutive days. Data were extracted based on population-based MET-levels recommended to improve and maintain health. On day 8, participants were randomly assigned to complete either the short-form International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) or the Leisure-Time Exercise Questionnaire (LTEQ). Estimates of duration (IPAQ; N = 46) and frequency (LTEQ; N = 41) of PA were compared with those recorded by the AHR. Results: Bland-Altman analysis showed the mean bias between the IPAQ and AHR to be small for moderate-intensity and total PA, however the 95% limits of agreement (LOA) were wide. The mean number of moderate bouts of PA estimated by the LTEQ was similar to those derived by the AHR but the 95% LOA between the 2 measures were large. Conclusions: Although self-report questionnaires may provide an approximation of PA at a population level, they may not determine whether an individual is participating in the type, intensity, and amount of PA advocated in current public health recommendations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-70
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Physical Activity and Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Accelerometry
  • Heart rate monitoring
  • Limits of agreement
  • Method-comparison

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Epidemiology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Self-report vs. objectively assessed physical activity: Which is right for public health?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this