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Objective and Subjective Measures of Sedentary Behavior and Physical Activity


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: March 2011 - Volume 43 - Issue 3 - p 449-456
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181ef5a93

Purpose: To examine the convergent validity of the ActiGraph and activPAL accelerometers with the Bouchard Activity Record (BAR) in adults. Sedentary behavior and walking were evaluated in all instruments; standing and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) was evaluated only in those that detected such variables.

Methods: Thirty-two participants wore the accelerometers and completed the BAR concurrently for 1 d. Descriptive statistics and delta values were reported for all instruments. Summary time spent in sedentary behavior and walking was compared between all instruments using repeated-measures ANOVA. Dependent t-tests were used to analyze summary time in 1) standing between activPAL and BAR and 2) MVPA between ActiGraph and BAR. Bland-Altman plots were interpreted for systematic bias. On a detailed level, concurrent time interval data were compared using mean percent agreement and κ statistics.

Results: There was a significant difference found in summary time spent in sedentary behavior apparent between ActiGraph and activPAL as well as between ActiGraph and BAR. There was also a significant difference detected in time spent in walking, apparent between ActiGraph and activPAL, and between ActiGraph and BAR. In the time interval analysis, mean percent agreement ranged from 54.0% (for walking detected by ActiGraph and activPAL) to 86.7% (for MVPA by ActiGraph and BAR). κ values ranged from 0.25 (for walking by ActiGraph and activPAL) to 0.70 (for sedentary behavior between activPAL and BAR). Differences were also found in standing and MVPA.

Conclusions: The activPAL and BAR showed convergence on both summary and concurrent time interval levels in both sedentary behavior and walking. The comparative discordance between activPAL and BAR with ActiGraph was likely a function of different approaches used to distinguish sedentary behavior from walking.

1Human Movement Sciences, College of Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI; 2College of Nursing and Health Innovation, Arizona State University, Mesa, AZ; and 3Walking Behavior Laboratory, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, LA

Address for correspondence: Teresa L. Hart, Ph.D., Department of Human Movement Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, PO Box 413, Milwaukee, WI 53201-0413; E-mail:

Submitted for publication February 2010.

Accepted for publication June 2010.

©2011The American College of Sports Medicine