Monitoring and surveillance of physical activity

The availability of reliable information on the development of physical activity behaviour in populations is crucial for evidence-based interventions and policy. Due to some limitations inherent in subjective methods of measuring physical activity, such as questionnaires, more objective assessment methods are being used. The development of small sensor-based monitors such as accelerometers, heart-rate monitors and global positioning systems has improved the accuracy and reliability of free-living physical activity assessment. However, widespread use of these devices – for example, in epidemiological studies or population surveys – has been hampered by their cost as well as by practical and methodological issues. This working group, co-led by Ms Jaana Suni and Mr Harri Sievänen, UKK Institute for Health Promotion Research, Finland, aims to tackle some of these issues and provide coordination with and support to ongoing projects in monitoring and surveillance of physical activity at the European level. The current focus of work is on objective measurement of physical activity and sedentary behaviour.

To join this activity, please contact HEPA Europe at