The vagaries of self-reports of physical activity: a problem revisited and addressed in a study of exercise promotion in the over 65s in general practice

St George's, University of London, Londinium, England, United Kingdom
Family Practice (Impact Factor: 1.84). 05/1999; 16(2):152-7. DOI: 10.1093/fampra/16.2.152
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The assessment of levels of physical activity relies upon suitable measurement tools.
We aimed to investigate whether a practice nurse, using a motivational interview technique, could encourage older patients to increase their physical activity.
Health and well-being were monitored at baseline and 8 weeks following intervention. Physical activity levels were ascertained using both a self-report measure and ambulatory heart-rate monitoring.
Whilst patients reported higher levels of physical activity at follow-up, this finding was not confirmed by the heart-rate data.
The study concludes that patients tend to overestimate the amount of physical activity undertaken and that ambulatory heart-rate monitoring may be more useful for verifying actual behaviour.