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Physical Activity: Monitoring Physical Activity

The Risk Factor Monitoring and Methods Branch (RFMMB) supports the collection of physical activity data in existing and planned surveys. In doing so, we are attempting to develop more complete assessments of individuals' physical activity based on information derived from multiple contexts, including transportation, occupation, and recreation. For example:

  • We have supported inclusion of a variety of questions related to physical activity and sedentary behavior in the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) Cancer Control Supplement and the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS). These added questions complement the NHIS/CHIS core physical activity questions concerning leisure and transportation walking. The data from these surveys are publicly available and provide a rich resource for exploring the demographic and health related correlates of physical activity in multiple domains.
  • We are supporting the use of activity monitors to collect objective physical activity data in large surveys, such as the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). These monitors, which record motion activity as people wear them over several days, circumvent the cognitive and cultural challenges inherent in collecting physical activity data by questionnaire. Several SAS programs are now available to investigators who wish to analyze accelerometer data from the 2003-2004 NHANES.

These resources should be helpful in monitoring physical activity in relation to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.

Last Modified: 11 Apr 2014