Arch Dis Child 93:614-619 doi:10.1136/adc.2007.133272
  • Review

Objective measurement of physical activity and sedentary behaviour: review with new data

  1. J J Reilly1,
  2. V Penpraze2,
  3. J Hislop3,
  4. G Davies1,
  5. S Grant2,
  6. J Y Paton1
  1. 1
    University of Glasgow Division of Developmental Medicine, Yorkhill Hospitals, Glasgow, Scotland
  2. 2
    University of Glasgow Institute of Biomedical and Life Sciences, Glasgow, Scotland
  3. 3
    Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, Scotland
  1. Professor John J Reilly, University Division of Developmental Medicine, 1st Floor Tower Block QMH, Yorkhill Hospitals, Glasgow G3 8SJ, Scotland; jjr2y{at}
  • Accepted 6 February 2008
  • Published Online First 27 February 2008


Objective methods are being used increasingly for the quantification of the amount of physical activity, intensity of physical activity and amount of sedentary behaviour in children. The accelerometer is currently the objective method of choice. In this review we address the advantages of objective measurement compared with more traditional subjective methods, notably the avoidance of bias, greater confidence in the amount of activity and sedentary behaviour measured, and improved ability to relate variation in physical activity and sedentary behaviour to variation in health outcomes. We also consider unresolved practical issues in paediatric accelerometry by critically reviewing the existing evidence and by providing new evidence.


  • Competing interests: None.