Background: It has been suggested that young people should develop competence in a variety of 'lifelong physical activities' to ensure that they can be active across the lifespan.
Objective: The primary aim of this systematic review is to report the methodological properties, validity, reliability, and test duration of field-based measures that assess movement skill competency in lifelong physical activities. A secondary aim was to clearly define those characteristics unique to lifelong physical activities.
Data sources: A search of four electronic databases (Scopus, SPORTDiscus, ProQuest, and PubMed) was conducted between June 2014 and April 2015 with no date restrictions.
Study selection: Studies addressing the validity and/or reliability of lifelong physical activity tests were reviewed. Included articles were required to assess lifelong physical activities using process-oriented measures, as well as report either one type of validity or reliability.
Study appraisal and synthesis methods: Assessment criteria for methodological quality were adapted from a checklist used in a previous review of sport skill outcome assessments.
Results: Movement skill assessments for eight different lifelong physical activities (badminton, cycling, dance, golf, racquetball, resistance training, swimming, and tennis) in 17 studies were identified for inclusion. Methodological quality, validity, reliability, and test duration (time to assess a single participant), for each article were assessed. Moderate to excellent reliability results were found in 16 of 17 studies, with 71% reporting inter-rater reliability and 41% reporting intra-rater reliability. Only four studies in this review reported test-retest reliability. Ten studies reported validity results; content validity was cited in 41% of these studies. Construct validity was reported in 24% of studies, while criterion validity was only reported in 12% of studies.
Limitations: Numerous assessments for lifelong physical activities may exist, yet only assessments for eight lifelong physical activities were included in this review. Generalizability of results may be more applicable if more heterogeneous samples are used in future research.
Conclusion: Moderate to excellent levels of inter- and intra-rater reliability were reported in the majority of studies. However, future work should look to establish test-retest reliability. Validity was less commonly reported than reliability, and further types of validity other than content validity need to be established in future research. Specifically, predictive validity of 'lifelong physical activity' movement skill competency is needed to support the assertion that such activities provide the foundation for a lifetime of activity.