Research Study Abstract

Assessing Physical Activity in British Pakistani Women

  • Presented on 2011

Introduction The aims of this study were to assess the quality of data on physical activity obtained by recall from British Pakistani women, and to explore the feasibility of using accelerometer-based physical activity monitors to provide more objective measure of physical activity in this group. Previously only questionnaire data have been published, and have indicated low levels of activity [1].

Methods In this largely qualitative study, 22 British Pakistani women were asked to wear accelerometers (the GT1M Actigraph and/or the Sensewear Armband) for four days. Participants also provided two 24-hour recalls of activities, for a Sunday and a Monday, and were interviewed about physical activity and their experiences with the monitors.

Results Women reported spending most of their time in housework and childcare. They had difficulty in recalling the timing of these usually unstructured activities. Understandings of what constitutes moderate or vigorous physical activity, as required by questionnaires, varied markedly. 7/28 bouts (at least 10 minutes) of moderate to vigorous activity identified by accelerometer on Sundays and Mondays took place in the home. Most women wore the monitors as requested, but a number of problems were reported and a significant minority of datasets (6/14 for the Actigraph and 5/14 for the Sensewear Armband) was incomplete, despite relatively intense interactions with the researchers. Women generally found the Actigraph comfortable and unobtrusive, but sometimes forgot to wear it. A number of women said the Sensewear Armband was uncomfortable to wear, and was embarrassingly bulky under traditional tight-sleeved kameez tops and some chose to take it off.

Discussion and Conclusion We conclude that most questionnaire measures fail to provide an accurate assessment of physical activity in British Pakistani women because they do not include an assessment of moderate to vigorous activity conducted within the home. Where questionnaires do ask women about their activities in the home, difficulties in recalling time spent in activities and in assessing the intensity of activities are likely to lead to invalid data. This suggests that accelerometer data will be preferable. However, collecting sufficient accelerometer data for large-scale studies of activity in British Pakistani women will be challenging.

References [1] Williams ED, Stamatakis E, Chandola T, Hamer M. Assessment of physical activity levels in South Asians in the UK: findings from the Health Survey for England. J Epidemiol Community Health, 2010; doi:10.1136/jech.2009.102509