1. Sallis, James F. PhD


Promoting physical activity is a high priority in the United States, especially for Native American populations, due to very high rates of inactivity-related chronic diseases. High-quality physical activity measures can contribute to achieving health goals. Measuring a sample of the population can identify high-risk subgroups and geographic locations that can be targeted for interventions. Outcomes of physical activity interventions should be evaluated because this is the only way to determine whether they are effective. Three types of measures are practical for use in nonresearch settings, although they still present challenges. First, self-reports are commonly used; they are low-cost but the least accurate. Second, objective monitors such as pedometers, accelerometers, and heart rate monitors can provide accurate information, but resources and expertise are needed to collect and manage data. Third, direct observation can be used to evaluate school physical education programs and assess how people are using parks and other physical activity facilities. Studies of Native American populations have used a variety of measures. Good evaluations can lead to program improvements, documenting positive results can attract funding to continue and expand programs, and communicating results can persuade other communities to adopt effective approaches. Program evaluations using quality physical activity measures can contribute to achieving the goal of improved health in Native American communities.