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AHA Issues Guidelines for Assessing Physical Activity
Using a decision matrix, most appropriate method of assessment for primary outcome can be selected

MONDAY, Oct. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Physical activity should be assessed regularly, using the most appropriate method based mainly on the primary outcome in any given scenario, according to a scientific statement from the American Heart Association published online Oct. 14 in Circulation.

Noting the well-established and documented health benefit of physical activity, Scott J. Strath, Ph.D., from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and colleagues discuss the importance of regular assessment of physical activity and review the available options for assessment.

The researchers note that physical activity comprises four dimensions: mode or type, frequency, duration, and intensity. In addition, there are four domains of physical activity: occupational, domestic, transportation, and leisure time -- all of which need to be considered. Current methods for assessing physical activity are either subjective (self-report based on questionnaires or physical activity diaries) or objective (using measures of energy expenditure, physiological measures, or motion sensors). By using a decision matrix, a systematic approach can guide selection of the appropriate physical activity assessment in any given clinical scenario, with the primary outcome the main determining factor in the choice of method.

"In summary, physical activity assessment should be considered a vital health measure that is tracked regularly over time," the authors write. "The present scientific statement provides a guide to allow professionals to make a goal-specific selection of a meaningful physical activity assessment method."

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the health care industry.

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