Comparison of Self-Reported and Accelerometer-Assessed Physical Activity in Older Women

PLoS One. 2015 Dec 29;10(12):e0145950. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0145950. eCollection 2015.


Background: Self-reported physical activity measures continue to be validated against accelerometers; however, the absence of standardized, accelerometer moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) definitions has made comparisons across studies difficult. Furthermore, recent accelerometer models assess accelerations in three axes, instead of only the vertical axis, but validation studies have yet to take incorporate triaxial data.

Methods: Participants (n = 10 115) from the Women's Health Study wore a hip-worn accelerometer (ActiGraph GT3X+) for seven days during waking hours (2011-2014). Women then completed a physical activity questionnaire. We compared self-reported with accelerometer-assessed MVPA, using four established cutpoints for MVPA: three using only vertical axis data (760, 1041 and 1952 counts per minute (cpm)) and one using triaxial data (2690 cpm).

Results: According to self-reported physical activity, 66.6% of women met the US federal physical activity guidelines, engaging in ≥150 minutes per week of MVPA. The percent of women who met guidelines varied widely depending on the accelerometer MVPA definition (760 cpm: 50.0%, 1041 cpm: 33.0%, 1952 cpm: 13.4%, and 2690 cpm: 19.3%).

Conclusions: Triaxial count data do not substantially reduce the difference between self-reported and accelerometer-assessed MVPA.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Accelerometry*
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / instrumentation
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / methods*
  • Motor Activity*
  • Self Report*