UMMS Affiliation

Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine, Department of Medicine; UMass Worcester Prevention Research Center

Publication Date


Document Type



Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Epidemiology | Equipment and Supplies | Exercise Science | Health Information Technology | Preventive Medicine | Translational Medical Research


Valid, reliable, and direct measures of physical activity (PA) are critical to assessing the impact of lifestyle PA interventions. However, little is known about the extent to which objective measures have been used to assess the outcomes of lifestyle PA interventions. This systematic review had two aims: 1) evaluate the extent to which PA is measured objectively in lifestyle PA interventions targeting adults and 2) explore and summarize what objective measures have been used and what PA dimensions and metrics have been reported. Pubmed, Cochrane Central Register, and PsychInfo were searched for lifestyle PA interventions conducted between 2006 and 2016. Of the 342 articles that met the inclusion criteria, 239 studies measured PA via subjective measures and 103 studies measured PA via objective measures. The proportion of studies using objective measures increased from 4.4% to 70.6% from 2006 to 2016. All studies measuring PA objectively utilized wearable devices; half (50.5%) used pedometers only and 40.8% used accelerometers only. A majority of the 103 studies reported steps (73.8%) as their PA metric. Incorporating objective measures of PA should continue to be a priority in PA research. More work is needed to address the challenges of comprehensive and consistent collecting, reporting, and analyzing of PA metrics.


Accelerometry, Interventions, Pedometer, Physical activity, Systematic review/meta-analysis, UMCCTS funding

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© 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (

DOI of Published Version



Prev Med Rep. 2018 Sept;11:74-80. doi: 10.1016/j.pmedr.2018.05.003. eCollection 2018 Sep. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Preventive medicine reports

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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