Advances in population surveillance for physical activity and sedentary behavior: Reliability and validity of time use surveys

Hidde P. Van Der Ploeg, Dafna Merom, Josephine Y. Chau, Michael Bittman, Stewart G. Trost, Adrian E. Bauman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Many countries conduct regular national time use surveys, some of which date back as far as the 1960s. Time use surveys potentially provide more detailed and accurate national estimates of the prevalence of sedentary and physical activity behavior than more traditional self-report surveillance systems. In this study, the authors determined the reliability and validity of time use surveys for assessing sedentary and physical activity behavior. In 2006 and 2007, participants (n = 134) were recruited from work sites in the Australian state of New South Wales. Participants completed a 2-day time use diary twice, 7 days apart, and wore an accelerometer. The 2 diaries were compared for test-retest reliability, and comparison with the accelerometer determined concurrent validity. Participants with similar activity patterns during the 2 diary periods showed reliability intraclass correlations of 0.74 and 0.73 for nonoccupational sedentary behavior and moderate/vigorous physical activity, respectively. Comparison of the diary with the accelerometer showed Spearman correlations of 0.57-0.59 and 0.45-0.69 for nonoccupational sedentary behavior and moderate/vigorous physical activity, respectively. Time use surveys appear to be more valid for population surveillance of nonoccupational sedentary behavior and health-enhancing physical activity than more traditional surveillance systems. National time use surveys could be used to retrospectively study nonoccupational sedentary and physical activity behavior over the past 5 decades.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1199-1206
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Epidemiology
Volume172
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2010

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