Physical Activity Measures

  • David R. BassettEmail author
  • Kenneth M. Bielak


Currently, many Americans do not obtain sufficient levels of physical activity, as identified by the 2008 US Physical Activity Guidelines. This places them at increased risk of mortality/morbidity, as well as diseases such as obesity, diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, and other chronic diseases. Primary care health-care professionals can provide advice or counseling to encourage their sedentary patients to exercise. Although studies examining the efficacy of physician-based counseling have shown conflicting results, this is due in part to differences in study designs, implementation, and patient populations. Simple tools (e.g., very brief questionnaires) can be used to assess where patients stand regarding exercise. These include Physical Activity as a Vital Sign, the Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire, and the Stages of Exercise Behavior Change survey. Recent studies conducted in primary care settings over the past 5–10 years indicate that the use of pedometers (in conjunction with a daily step goal, activity log, and follow-up) is helpful in encouraging sedentary patients to increase their levels of physical activity by approximately 2500 steps per day.


Physical activity Primary care Counseling Vital sign Pedometer Accelerometer 

Activity Counseling Trial


American College of Sports Medicine


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Department of Health and Human Services


Exercise vital sign


Health-care professionals


National Institutes of Health


Physician-based Assessment and Counseling for Exercise


Physical activity energy expenditure


Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire


Total daily energy expenditure


US Preventative Services Task Force


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport SciencesUniversity of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Family MedicineUniversity of Tennessee Medical CenterKnoxvilleUSA

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