Physical Activity Research Resources

This list provides links to physical activity resources that may be of interest to investigators, but is not exhaustive. If you have information about a physical activity resource you would like to be considered for inclusion on this list, submit as much information as possible via e-mail to our Risk Factor Assessment Branch:

Analytical Tools

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Assessment Tools

  • Measurement of Active and Sedentary Behaviors: Closing the Gaps in Self-Report Methods Webinar and Think TankExternal Web Site Policy
    A webinar supported by NCI, the National Institutes of Health's Office of Disease Prevention, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American College of Sports Medicine, and NCCOR that provided an overview of physical activity as a multidimensional health behavior, an in-depth review of methods to measure active and sedentary behaviors by self-report, and an exploration of important issues when assessing physical activity in diverse populations. The webinar was followed by a Think Tank where measurement experts discussed approaches to closing the gaps in self-report methods assessing active and sedentary behaviors.

    The following journal supplements were published to summarize and build upon the webinar and Think Tank:

    Objective measurement of physical activity: best practices and future directions

    Objective measurement of physical activity: best practices and future directionsExternal Web Site Policy. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2012 January; 44(suppl 1):S1-S89.

    This journal supplement summarizes and builds upon a workshop which convened researchers from diverse sectors and organizations to critically review the state-of-the-science. The supplement discusses current technologies for objective physical activity monitoring, provides recommendations for the use of these technologies, and explores future directions in the development of new tools and approaches. It presents best practices for using physical activity monitors in population-based research, explores modeling of physical activity outcomes from wearable monitors, and discusses statistical considerations in the analysis of accelerometry-based activity monitor data. It also examines monitor equivalency issues and discusses current use and best practices for accelerometry with particular populations -- children, older adults, and adults with functional limitations.

    Measurement of active and sedentary behaviors: closing the gaps in self-report methods

    Measurement of active and sedentary behaviors: closing the gaps in self-report methodsExternal Web Site Policy. J Phys Act Health. 2012 January;9(suppl):S1-S92.

    This journal supplement summarizes a workshop and webinar that explored the major challenges and opportunities for the use of self-report methods to measure active and sedentary behaviors. Additionally, it contains an overview of the history and evolution of self-report instruments, a commentary on the role of practitioners in instrument development, and a commentary on self-report measurement in low- and middle-income countries. The supplement is intended as a reference for navigating the considerations encountered when selecting an approach for self-report assessment or when deciding how to develop a new instrument.

  • Measures RegistryExternal Web Site Policy
    A searchable database of diet and physical activity measures relevant to childhood obesity research, developed by the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR).
  • PhenX ToolkitExternal Web Site Policy
    This Toolkit, supported by NIH funding, is a catalog of recommended, standard measures of phenotypes and environmental exposures, including physical activity measures, for use in biomedical research.

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  • Catalogue of Surveillance SystemsExternal Web Site Policy
    One-stop access to more than 100 publicly available datasets relevant to childhood obesity research, developed by the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR).
  • Interactive Diet and Activity Tracking in AARP (IDATA) Study
    IDATA is a methodologic study of device-based, internet-based, and conventional self-report instruments for assessing physical activity and diet in epidemiologic research. These data are available to all qualified investigators for studies of physical activity and nutrition, and interested investigators can request access to IDATA Study data.
  • National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) Accelerometer Data
    • SAS code is available for analyzing Actigraph 7164 Physical Activity Monitor (PAM) data from the 2003-2004 NHANES
    • Physical Fitness and Cardiovascular Fitness NHANES Data Tutorial

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Surveys and Related Resources

  • American Time Use Survey
    This survey, conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, is designed to collect information on how Americans spend their time on work, household chores, child care, recreation and other activities.
  • Eating and Health Module of the ATUS
    This module, developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) with assistance from NCI staff, includes statistics on time spent in eating and drinking activities, grocery shopping, and meal preparation for the population age 15 and older and for participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP (formerly the Food Stamp Program). Data are also presented on measures of the health status (such as Body Mass Index, or BMI) of the population by time spent in various activities.

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