A Physical Activity Screening Measure for Use With Adolescents in Primary Care | Adolescent Medicine | JAMA Pediatrics | JAMA Network
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May 2001

A Physical Activity Screening Measure for Use With Adolescents in Primary Care

Author Affiliations

From the Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology at San Diego State University and University of California, San Diego (Ms Prochaska); Department of Psychology, San Diego State University (Dr Sallis); and Division of Adolescent Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco (Dr Long).

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2001;155(5):554-559. doi:10.1001/archpedi.155.5.554

Objective  To develop a reliable and valid physical activity screening measure for use with adolescents in primary care settings.

Study Design  We conducted 2 studies to evaluate the test-retest reliability and concurrent validity of 6 single-item and 3 composite measures of physical activity. Modifications were based on the findings of the 2 studies, and a best measure was evaluated in study 3. Accelerometer data served as the criterion standard for tests of validity.

Results  In study 1 (N = 250; mean age, 15 years; 56% female; 36% white), reports on the composite measures were most reliable. In study 2 (N = 57; mean age, 14 years; 65% female; 37% white), 6 of the 9 screening measures correlated significantly with accelerometer data. Subjects, however, had great difficulty reporting bouts of activity and distinguishing between intensity levels. Instead, we developed a single measure assessing accumulation of 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity. Evaluated in study 3 (N = 148; mean age, 12 years; 65% female; 27% white), the measure was reliable (intraclass correlation, 0.77) and correlated significantly (r = 0.40, P<.001) with accelerometer data. Correct classification (63%), sensitivity (71%), and false-positive rates (40%) were reasonable.

Conclusion  The "moderate to vigorous physical activity" screening measure is recommended for clinical practice with adolescents.