Objectively measured versus self-reported physical activity in children and adolescents with cancer
Objective Existing research recognizes low levels of physical activity in pediatric patients with cancer, but much uncertainty exists about their capability to self-reflect physical activity levels. The objective of this study was to compare results of subjective self-reports and objective accelerometers regarding levels of daily walking as well as moderate-to-vigorous physical activities. Methods Results of the objective assessment tool StepWatchTM Activity Monitor and self-reporting with a standardized questionnaire were compared in 28 children and adolescents during cancer treatment. Results The patients were 13.8±2.8 years of age and 3.4±2.0 months after cancer diagnosis. The Bland-Altman plots indicated a fairly symmetrical under- and over-estimation for daily minutes of walking with the limits of agreement ranging from -100.8 to 87.3 min (d = -6.7 min). Mean difference for moderate-to-vigorous physical activity was almost zero but limits of agreement are ranging from -126.8 to 126.9 min. The comparison for the days with at least 60 min of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity showed a marked difference with 3.0±2.6 self-reported days versus only 0.1±0.4 measured days. Conclusions These findings suggest that physical activity in pediatric cancer patients should preferably be assessed with objective methods. Greater efforts are needed to implement supervised exercise interventions during treatment incorporating methods to improve self-reflection of physical activity.