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Accuracy of Self-Reported Physical Activity as an Indicator of Cardiovascular Fitness Depends on Education Level

  • Paul Gerrard
    Correspondence
    Reprint requests to Paul Gerrard, MD, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital/Harvard Medical School, 125 Nashua St, Boston, MA 02114
    Affiliations
    Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital/Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
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Published:April 23, 2012DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apmr.2012.04.007

      Abstract

      Gerrard P. Accuracy of self-reported physical activity as an indicator of cardiovascular fitness depends on education level.

      Objective

      To determine whether there is a relationship between the level of education and the accuracy of self-reported physical activity as a proxy measure of aerobic fitness.

      Design

      Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination from the years 1999 to 2004 were used. Linear regression was performed for measured maximum oxygen consumption (V̇o2max) versus self-reported physical activity for 5 different levels of education.

      Setting

      This was a national survey in the United States.

      Participants

      Participants included adults from the general U.S. population (N=3290).

      Interventions

      None.

      Main Outcome Measure

      Coefficients of determination obtained from models for each education level were used to compare how well self-reported physical activity represents cardiovascular fitness. These coefficients were the main outcome measure.

      Results

      Coefficients of determination for V̇o2max versus reported physical activity increased as the level of education increased.

      Conclusions

      In this preliminary study, self-reported physical activity is a better proxy measure for aerobic fitness in highly educated individuals than in poorly educated individuals.

      Key Words

      List of Abbreviations:

      PAR (physical activity readiness), NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), V̇o2max (maximum oxygen consumption)
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