Share this article on:

An Adult Physical Activity Scoring Scheme: Its Evaluation and Application


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: August 2005 - Volume 37 - Issue 8 - p 1401-1408
doi: 10.1249/01.mss.0000174908.68513.80
Applied Sciences: Physical Fitness and Performance

Purpose: The purpose of this paper was to describe the development and evaluation of an adult physical activity (PA) scoring scheme (SS).

Methods: SS was based on the 2000 METs compendium and PA guidance. Scoring credit was assigned to moderate (3–6 METs) or vigorous (>6 METs) activities using a 100-point scale. A point designator for evaluation (80.01–100, good; 51.00–80, needs improvement; and <51, poor) was based on guidance to perform 30 min of moderate activity ≥5 d·wk−1 or 20 min of vigorous activity ≥3 d·wk−1. Activities were scored individually and summed for a final score. PA information was from the Behavioral Risk Surveillance Survey, 2000. Weighted data were analyzed using SAS. Sensitivity and specificity methods were used to evaluate the SS. Fifty-six PA met intensity criteria and were examined for frequency and duration.

Results: Study included adults ≥18 yr (N = 173,980). 71.4% of the men and 67.2% of the women reported moderate or vigorous activity, but only 13.1% of the men and 12.8% of the women received a good score. 48.9% of the men and 41% of the women needed improvement and 9.4% of the men and 13.4% of the women had a poor score. The sensitivity of identifying inactivity was 94 and 95% for inactive men and women, respectively; 92% for identifying both men and women needing improvement; and 79% for men and 90% for women with a poor score. The specificity of getting a good score was 57 and 60% for active men and women, respectively.

Conclusion: SS appropriately assigns scoring credit to moderate and vigorous activities. However, assumptions made for mixed moderate and vigorous activities may misclassify active individuals.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, Alexandria, VA

Corresponding author: Shirley Ann Gerrior, PhD, RD, LD, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Cooperative State Research Education and Extension Service, 800 9th Street SW, Room 4144, Waterfront Centre, Washington DC 20042; E-mail:

Submitted for publication September 2004.

Accepted for publication February 2005.

©2005The American College of Sports Medicine