Suitability and readability assessment of educational print resources related to physical activity: implications and recommendations for practice

Patient Educ Couns. 2008 Aug;72(2):342-9. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2008.03.010. Epub 2008 May 2.


Objective: The primary objective of this study was to assess the suitability and readability level of publicly available educational print resources related to physical activity (PA).

Methods: Educational print resources related to PA (n=66) were requested from organizations (e.g., professional, commercial, government, and educational). The suitability assessment of materials (SAM) and the simple measure of gobbledygook (SMOG) readability measure were used to evaluate the suitability and readability of the PA resources.

Results: Of the 66 PA resources, suitability scores were superior in only 10 resources (15%), adequate in 36 resources (55%), and inadequate/not suitable in 20 resources (30%). The average reading grade level for the PA resources was a 10th grade level (S.D.=1.82; Rg=5th grade to 15th grade). Only 56.5% (n=35) of PA resources depicted a primary PA recommendation that was consistent with the public health recommendation for PA.

Conclusion: Results indicate that the majority of educational print resources related to PA have poor readability indices and inadequate to adequate suitability.

Practice implications: Health educators developing educational print resources related to PA must ensure these resources conform to the highest suitability standards. This includes developing resources that a) contain information consistent with current public health recommendations, and b) can be utilized by all individuals regardless of health literacy status.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Comprehension*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / education
  • Exercise*
  • Guideline Adherence
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Health Planning Guidelines
  • Health Promotion* / methods
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Motivation
  • Pamphlets
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Patient Education as Topic / standards
  • Public Health Practice
  • Self Efficacy
  • Teaching Materials / standards*
  • United States