Advertisement

International Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 51–61 | Cite as

Using Ecological Momentary Assessment to Understand Where and With Whom Adults’ Physical and Sedentary Activity Occur

  • Yue LiaoEmail author
  • Stephen S. Intille
  • Genevieve F. Dunton
Article

Abstract

Purpose

This study used Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA), a real-time self-report strategy, to describe the physical and social contexts of adults’ physical activity and sedentary activity during their everyday lives and to determine whether these patterns and relationships differ for men and women.

Methods

Data from 114 adults were collected through mobile phones across 4 days. Eight electronic EMA surveys were randomly prompted each day asking about current activities (e.g., physical or sedentary activity), physical and social contexts, and perceived outdoor environmental features (e.g., greenness/vegetation, safety, and traffic). All participants also wore accelerometers during this period to objectively measure moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and sedentary activity.

Results

Home was the most common physical context for EMA-reported physical and sedentary activity. Most of these activities occurred when participants were alone. When alone, the most commonly EMA-reported physical activity and sedentary activity was walking and reading/using computer, respectively. When in outdoor home locations (e.g., yard and driveway) women demonstrated higher levels of MVPA, whereas men demonstrated higher levels of MVPA when in outdoor park settings (ps < .05). Men but not women demonstrated higher levels of MVPA in settings with a greater degree of perceived greenness and vegetation (p < .05).

Conclusions

The current study shows how EMA via mobile phones and accelerometers can be combined to offer an innovative approach to assess the contexts of adults’ daily physical and sedentary activity. Future studies could consider utilizing this method in more representative samples to gather context-specific information to inform the development of physical activity interventions.

Keywords

Physical activity Sedentary behavior Ecological Momentary Assessment Mobile phone Social context Physical context 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This research was funded by American Cancer Society 118283-MRSGT-10-012-01-CPPB (Dunton, P. I). The authors thank Jennifer Beaudin, S. M. of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for programming the Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) protocols used in this study and making modifications to the MyExperience tool. The authors would also like to thank Eleanor Tate, M.A. of the University of Southern California for her editorial edits.

References

  1. 1.
    Warburton DE, Nicol CW, Bredin SS. Health benefits of physical activity: the evidence. CMAJ. 2006;174:801–9.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Penedo FJ, Dahn JR. Exercise and well-being: a review of mental and physical health benefits associated with physical activity. Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2005;18:189–93.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Carlson SA, Janet EF, Charlotte AS, Fleetwood L. Trend and prevalence estimates based on the 2008 physical activity guidelines for Americans. Am J Prev Med. 2010;39:305–13.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Sallis JF, Owen N, Fisher EB. Ecological models of health behavior. In: Glanz K, Rimer BK, Viswanath K, editors. Health behavior and health education: theory, research, and practice. 4th ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass; 2008. p. 465–82.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Sallis JF, Bowles HR, Bauman A, Ainsworth BE, Bull FC, Craig CL, et al. Neighborhood environments and physical activity among adults in 11 countries. Am J Prev Med. 2009;36:484–90.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Ding D, Sallis JF, Kerr J, Lee S, Rosenberg DE. Neighborhood environment and physical activity among youth: a review. Am J Prev Med. 2011;41:442–55.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    McCormack GR, Shiell A. In search of causality: a systematic review of the relationship between the built environment and physical activity among adults. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2011;8:125.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Roux AVD, Mair C. Neighborhoods and health. In: Adler NE, Stewart J, editors. Biology of disadvantage: socioeconomic status and health. Malden: Wiley-Blackwell; 2010. p. 125–45.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Kwan MP. The uncertain geographic context problem. Ann Assoc Am Geogr. 2012;102:958–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Inagami S, Cohen DA, Finch BK. Non-residential neighborhood exposures suppress neighborhood effects on self-rated health. Soc Sci Med. 2007;65:1779–91.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Black JL, Macinko J. Neighborhoods and obesity. Nutr Rev. 2008;66:2–20.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Wilks DC, Besson H, Lindroos AK, Ekelund U. Objectively measured physical activity and obesity prevention in children, adolescents and adults: a systematic review of prospective studies. Obes Rev. 2011;12:e119–29.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Giles-Corti B, Timperio A, Bull F, Pikora T. Understanding physical activity environmental correlates: increased specificity for ecological models. Exerc Sport Sci Rev. 2005;33:175–81.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Trost SG, Owen N, Bauman AE, Sallis JF, Brown W. Correlates of adults’ participation in physical activity: review and update. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2002;32:1996–2001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Östlin P, Eckermann E, Mishra US, Nkowane M, Wallstam E. Gender and health promotion: a multisectoral policy approach. Health Promot Int. 2006;21 Suppl 1:25–35.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Lee YS. Gender differences in physical activity and walking among older adults. J Women Aging. 2005;17:55–70.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Brownson RC, Boehmer TK, Luke DA. Declining rates of physical activity in the United States: what are the contributors? Annu Rev Public Health. 2005;26:421–43.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Nomaguchi KM, Bianchi SM. Exercise time: gender differences in the effects of marriage, parenthood, and employment. J Marriage Fam. 2004;66:413–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Azevedo MR, Araújo CLP, Reichert FF, Siqueira FV, Da Silva MC, Hallal PC. Gender differences in leisure-time physical activity. Int J Public Health. 2007;52:8–15.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Dunton GF, Berrigan D, Ballard-Barbash R, Graubard BI, Atienza AA. Social and physical environments of sports and exercise reported among adults in the American Time Use Survey. Prev Med. 2008;47:519–24.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Smyth JM, Stone AA. Ecological momentary assessment research in behavioral medicine. J Happiness Stud. 2003;4:35–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Patrick K, Griswold WG, Raab F, Intille SS. Health and the mobile phone. Am J Prev Med. 2008;35:177–81.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Shiffman S, Stone AA, Hufford MR. Ecological momentary assessment. Annu Rev Clin Psychol. 2008;4:1–32.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Dunton GF, Atienza AA. The need for time-intensive information in healthful eating and physical activity research: a timely topic. J Am Diet Assoc. 2009;109:30–5.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Dunton GF, Liao Y, Intille S, Wolch J, Pentz MA. Physical and social contextual influences on children’s leisure-time physical activity: an Ecological Momentary Assessment study. J Phys Act Health. 2011;8:S103–8.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Dunton GF, Kawabata K, Intille S, Wolch J, Pentz MA. Assessing the social and physical contexts of children’s leisure-time physical activity: an Ecological Momentary Assessment Study. Am J Health Promot. 2012;26:135–42.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Dunton GF, Liao Y, Intille S, Spruijt-Metz D, Pentz MA. Investigating children’s physical activity and sedentary behavior using Ecological Momentary Assessment with mobile phones. Obesity. 2012;19:1205–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Liao Y, Intille S, Wolch J, Pentz MA, Dunton GF. Understanding the physical and social context of children’s non-school sedentary behavior: An Ecological Momentary Assessment study. J Phys Act Health. in press.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Dunton GF, Liao Y, Kawabata K, Intille S. Momentary assessment of adults’ physical activity and sedentary behavior: feasibility and validity. Front Psychol. 2012;3:260.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Troiano RP, Berrigan D, Dodd KW, Mâsse LC, Tilert T, McDowell M. Physical activity in the United States measured by accelerometer. Med Sci Sports and Exerc. 2008;40:181–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Healy GN, Dunstan DW, Salmon J, Cerin E, Shaw JE, Zimmet PZ, et al. Breaks in sedentary time beneficial associations with metabolic risk. Diabetes Care. 2008;31:661–6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Saffer H, Dave DM, Grossman M. Racial, ethnic and gender differences in physical activity (No. w17413). National Bureau of Economic Research, 2011.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Floyd MF, Spengler JO, Maddock JE, Gobster PH, Suau LJ. Park-based physical activity in diverse communities of two US cities: an observational study. Am J Prev Med. 2008;34:299–305.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Ogden CL, Yanovski SZ, Carroll MD, Flegal KM. The epidemiology of obesity. Gastroenterology. 2007;132:2087–102.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© International Society of Behavioral Medicine 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yue Liao
    • 1
    Email author
  • Stephen S. Intille
    • 2
    • 3
  • Genevieve F. Dunton
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research, Department of Preventive MedicineUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.College of Computer and Information ScienceNortheastern UniversityBostonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Health Sciences, Bouvé College of Health SciencesNortheastern UniversityBostonUSA

Personalised recommendations