Advertisement

European Journal of Epidemiology

, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 119–122 | Cite as

Physical activity—the more we measure, the more we know how to measure

  • Ylva Trolle Lagerros
Commentary

In the nineteenth century, the legendary physicist Lord Kelvin remarked, “to measure is to know” and “when you can measure what you are speaking about, and can express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind”. Even though Lord Kelvin did not have epidemiology in mind when he made these statements, they hold true in the world of epidemiology—where measurement is the key. The importance of physical activity as a determinant for health and diseases—and as an adjuvant in medical treatment and rehabilitation—is increasingly valued. And, it has been highlighted by this journal many times.

Keywords

Physical Activity Total Physical Activity Current Physical Activity Current Physical Activity Recommendation European Youth Heart Study 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

  1. 1.
    Rennie KL, Wareham NJ. The validation of physical activity instruments for measuring energy expenditure: problems and pitfalls. Public Health Nutr. 1998;1:265–71. doi: 10.1079/PHN19980043.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Morris JN, Heady JA, Raffle PA, Roberts CG, Parks JW. Coronary heart-disease and physical activity of work. Lancet. 1953;265:1111–20. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(53)91495-0.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Orsini N, Bellocco R, Bottai M, et al. Validity of self-reported total physical activity questionnaire among older women. Eur J Epidemiol. 2008;23:661–7.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Orsini N, Bellocco R, Bottai M, Pagano M, Wolk A. Reproducibility of the past year and historical self-administered total physical activity questionnaire among older women. Eur J Epidemiol. 2007;22:363–8. doi: 10.1007/s10654-006-9102-1.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Matthiessen J, Biltoft-Jensen A, Rasmussen LB, Hels O, Fagt S, Groth MV. Comparison of the Danish physical activity questionnaire with a validated position and motion instrument. Eur J Epidemiol. 2008;23:311–22. doi: 10.1007/s10654-008-9228-4.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Schmidt ME, Slanger T, Chang-Claude J, Wahrendorf J, Steindorf K. Evaluation of a short retrospective questionnaire for physical activity in women. Eur J Epidemiol. 2006;21:575–85. doi: 10.1007/s10654-006-9042-9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Graff-Iversen S, Anderssen SA, Holme IM, Jenum AK, Raastad T. Two short questionnaires on leisure-time physical activity compared with serum lipids, anthropometric measurements and aerobic power in a suburban population from Oslo, Norway. Eur J Epidemiol. 2008;23:167–74. doi: 10.1007/s10654-007-9214-2.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    von Huth Smith L, Borch-Johnsen K, Jorgensen T. Commuting physical activity is favourably associated with biological risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Eur J Epidemiol. 2007;22:771–9. doi: 10.1007/s10654-007-9177-3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Tolmunen T, Laukkanen JA, Hintikka J, et al. Low maximal oxygen uptake is associated with elevated depressive symptoms in middle-aged men. Eur J Epidemiol. 2006;21:701–6. doi: 10.1007/s10654-006-9038-5.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Aadahl M, Kjaer M, Jorgensen T. Associations between overall physical activity level and cardiovascular risk factors in an adult population. Eur J Epidemiol. 2007;22:369–78. doi: 10.1007/s10654-006-9100-3.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Wiklund F, Lageros YT, Chang E, et al. Lifetime total physical activity and prostate cancer risk: a population-based case-control study in Sweden. Eur J Epidemiol. 2008;23:739–46. doi: 10.1007/s10654-008-9294-7.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Baecke JA, Burema J, Frijters JE. A short questionnaire for the measurement of habitual physical activity in epidemiological studies. Am J Clin Nutr. 1982;36:936–42.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Seabra AF, Mendonca DM, Goring HH, Thomis MA, Maia JA. Genetic and environmental factors in familial clustering in physical activity. Eur J Epidemiol. 2008;23:205–11. doi: 10.1007/s10654-008-9222-x.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Heraclides A, Witte D, Brunner EJ. The association between father’s social class and adult obesity is not explained by educational attainment and an unhealthy lifestyle in adulthood. Eur J Epidemiol. 2008;23:573–9. doi: 10.1007/s10654-008-9245-3.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Andriankaja OM, Genco RJ, Dorn J, et al. Periodontal disease and risk of myocardial infarction: the role of gender and smoking. Eur J Epidemiol. 2007;22:699–705. doi: 10.1007/s10654-007-9166-6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Hosper K, Nierkens V, Nicolaou M, Stronks K. Behavioural risk factors in two generations of non-western migrants: do trends converge towards the host population? Eur J Epidemiol. 2007;22:163–72. doi: 10.1007/s10654-007-9104-7.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Jurek AM, Maldonado G, Greenland S, Church TR. Exposure-measurement error is frequently ignored when interpreting epidemiologic study results. Eur J Epidemiol. 2006;21:871–6. doi: 10.1007/s10654-006-9083-0.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Chen KY, Bassett DR Jr. The technology of accelerometry-based activity monitors: current and future. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2005;37:S490–500. doi: 10.1249/01.mss.0000185571.49104.82.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Matthews CE. Calibration of accerlerometer output for adults. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2005;37:S512–22. doi: 10.1249/01.mss.0000185659.11982.3d.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Ruiz JR, Rizzo NS, Hurtig-Wennlof A, Ortega FB, Warnberg J, Sjostrom M. Relations of total physical activity and intensity to fitness and fatness in children: the European youth heart study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006;84:299–303.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Andersen LB, Harro M, Sardinha LB, et al. Physical activity and clustered cardiovascular risk in children: a cross-sectional study (The European youth heart study). Lancet. 2006;368:299–304. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(06)69075-2.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Troiano RP, Berrigan D, Dodd KW, Masse LC, Tilert T, McDowell M. Physical activity in the United States measured by accelerometer. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2008;40:181–8.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Hagstromer M, Oja P, Sjostrom M. Physical activity and inactivity in an adult population assessed by accelerometry. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2007;39:1502–8. doi: 10.1249/mss.0b013e3180a76de5.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Unit of Clinical EpidemiologyKarolinska InstitutetStockholmSweden

Personalised recommendations