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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 915172, 9 pages
Review Article

Using Ecological Momentary Assessment to Evaluate Current Physical Activity

Faculty of Rehabilitation, Józef Piłsudski University of Physical Education in Warsaw, ul Marymoncka 34, 01-813 Warsaw, Poland

Received 24 February 2014; Revised 4 June 2014; Accepted 30 June 2014; Published 14 July 2014

Academic Editor: Angela Del Rosso

Copyright © 2014 Jolanta Marszalek et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. The purpose of this study was to assess the value of ecological momentary assessment in evaluating physical activity among children, adolescents, and adults. It also determines whether ecological momentary assessment fulfills the criteria of validity, reliability, objectivity, norms, and standardization applied to the tools used for the evaluation of physical activity. Methods. The EBSCO-CINHAL, Medline, PsycINFO, PubMed, and SPORTDiscuss databases were reviewed in December 2012 for articles associated with EMA. Results. Of the 20 articles examined, half (10) used electronic methods for data collection, although various methods were used, ranging from pen and paper to smartphone applications. Ten studies used objective monitoring equipment. Nineteen studies were performed over 4 days. While the validity of the EMA method was discussed in 18 studies, only four found it to be objective. In all cases, the EMA procedures were precisely documented and confirmed to be feasible. Conclusions. Ecological momentary assessment is a valid, reliable, and feasible approach to evaluate activity and sedentary behavior. Researchers should be aware that while ecological momentary assessment offers many benefits, it simultaneously imposes many limitations which should be considered when studying physical activity.