Australian Family Physician
Australian Family Physician


Volume 40, Issue 1, January-February 2011

Screening for physical inactivity in general practice A test of diagnostic accuracy

Kelly A Shaw Tania Winzenberg
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It is unclear what is the best method of accurately identifying physically inactive patients in general practice. This study aimed to compare the performance of different methods of assessing patient physical activity levels in general practice.
Data from 29 patients was included. Agreement between subjective assessments was highest for GPs’ usual assessment (agreement 73%; kappa 0.47; p=0.03), which also gave the highest area under the ROC curve (0.75, 95% CI: 0.52–0.98). However, this still had low specificity (67%) and positive PV (63%). Using a cut-off of 7500 steps/day maximised the area under the ROC curve at 0.91 (95% CI: 0.82–1.00), 19.2% greater than GPs’ usual assessment.
Measuring steps per day may be a feasible and more effective way to screen for physically inactive patients than self report. A large scale study to confirm these results is necessary.

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