Overestimation of physical activity level is associated with lower BMI: a cross-sectional analysis.
The international journal of behavioral nutrition and physical activity 2010 ; 7: 68.
DOI : 10.1186/1479-5868-7-68
PubMed ID : 20854659
PMCID : PMC2954949
Poor recognition of physical inactivity may be an important barrier to healthy behaviour change, but little is known about this phenomenon. We aimed to characterize a high-risk population according to the discrepancies between objective and self-rated physical activity (PA), defined as awareness.
An exploratory cross-sectional analysis of PA awareness using baseline data collected from 365 ProActive participants between 2001 and 2003 in East Anglia, England. Self-rated PA was defined as 'active' or 'inactive' (assessed via questionnaire). Objective PA was defined according to achievement of guideline activity levels (≥30 minutes or <30 minutes spent at least moderate intensity PA, assessed by heart rate monitoring). Four awareness groups were created: 'Realistic Actives', 'Realistic Inactives', 'Overestimators' and 'Underestimators'. Logistic regression was used to assess associations between awareness group and 17 personal, social and biological correlates.
63.3% of participants (N = 231) were inactive according to objective measurement. Of these, 45.9% rated themselves as active ('Overestimators'). In a multiple logistic regression model adjusted for age and smoking, males (OR = 2.11, 95% CI = 1.12, 3.98), those with lower BMI (OR = 0.89, 95% CI = 0.84, 0.95), younger age at completion of full-time education (OR = 0.83, 95% CI = 0.74, 0.93) and higher general health perception (OR = 1.02 CI = 1.00, 1.04) were more likely to overestimate their PA.
Overestimation of PA is associated with favourable indicators of relative slimness and general health. Feedback about PA levels could help reverse misperceptions.