Linking the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) and the compendium of physical activities: Methods and rationale

Catrine Tudor-Locke, Tracy L. Washington, Barbara Ainsworth, Richard P. Troiano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Background: The 2003 Bureau of Labor Statistics American Time Use Survey (ATUS) contains 438 distinct primary activity variables that can be analyzed with regard to how time is spent by Americans. The Compendium of Physical Activities is used to code physical activities derived from various surveys, logs, diaries, etc to facilitate comparison of coded intensity levels across studies. Methods: This article describes the methods, challenges, and rationale for linking Compendium estimates of physical activity intensity (METs, metabolic equivalents) with all activities reported in the 2003 ATUS. Results: The assigned ATUS intensity levels are not intended to compute the energy costs of physical activity in individuals. Instead, they are intended to be used to identify time spent in activities broadly classified by type and intensity. This function will complement public health surveillance systems and aid in policy and health-promotion activities. For example, at least one of the future projects of this process is the descriptive epidemiology of time spent in common physical activity intensity categories. Conclusions: The process of metabolic coding of the ATUS by linking it with the Compendium of Physical Activities can make important contributions to our understanding of American's time spent in health-related physical activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)347-353
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Physical Activity and Health
Volume6
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2009

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Keywords

  • Metabolic coding
  • Secondary analysis
  • Surveillance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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