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Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism
Volume 2014, Article ID 808659, 6 pages
Research Article

Accuracy of Self-Reported Physical Activity Levels in Obese Adolescents

1Children’s Nutrition Research Centre, Queensland Children’s Medical Research Institute, Royal Children’s Hospital, The University of Queensland, Herston, QLD 4029, Australia
2Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University, Notting Hill, VIC 3168, Australia

Received 2 June 2014; Revised 22 July 2014; Accepted 4 August 2014; Published 26 August 2014

Academic Editor: Johannes B. van Goudoever

Copyright © 2014 Sarah A. Elliott 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.


Introduction. Self-reported measures of habitual physical activity rely completely on the respondent’s ability to provide accurate information on their own physical activity behaviours. Our aim was to investigate if obese adolescents could accurately report their physical activity levels (PAL) using self-reported diaries. Methods. Total energy expenditure (TEE) was measured using doubly labelled water (DLW) and resting energy expenditure (REE) was measured via indirect calorimetry. Activity energy expenditure (AEE) and PAL values were derived from measured TEE and REE. Self-reported, four-day activity diaries were used to calculate daily MET values and averaged to give an estimated PAL value (ePAL). Results. Twenty-two obese adolescents, mean age years, mean BMI  kg/m2, completed the study. No significant differences between mean measured and estimated PAL values were observed ( versus , ). Bland Altman analysis illustrated a significant relationship (, ) between the two methods; thus the bias was not consistent across a range of physical activity levels, with the more inactive overreporting their physical activity. Conclusion. At an individual level, obese adolescents are unlikely to be able to provide an accurate estimation of their own activity.