The Analysis of Self-Report Measures in Comparing the Physical Activity Patterns of
English and Greek Children
Educators and health professionals have expressed concern that the physical activity
patterns of children have declined during the past decades and many researchers
believe that the levels of activity have declined to such an extent to be detrimental to
However, the research evidence is contradictory. This represents the starting point for
the design of a self-report measure of physical activity (interview based
questionnaire) comprising two fonns - a week-day and week-end fonnat - for use with
English children but modified for use with children in Greece. The evaluation of the
self-report measure involved a number of studies to establish its validity and
reliability. The interview-based questionnaire involved estimates of children's time
commitment to activity therefore to establish its reliability a number of studies were
undertaken to ascertain the accuracy of their estimates. A scoring procedure based on
intensity, frequency and accumulation of activity during a whole day was developed
to establish an activity score to distinguish levels of activity. The study paralleled a
similar investigation by Cale (1993)
This was followed by investigation of a sample of Greek children aged 11 to 14 to
establish their physical activity patterns. The data from this investigation was used to
compare Greek children (n= 113) with a sample of English children (n = 199) from
the East Midlands region (Cale, 1993).
The findings of the Greek investigation revealed that the majority (58%) of the
children were inactive and girls were less active than boys and activity levels declined
with age. A similar pattern emerged when the results were compared with an English
sample. The implications of the study have far reaching consequences for the health
of young people in both countries and other international studies.
The implications of these results are discussed and proposals for future research
highlight the need for much larger scale studies in different popUlation and cultural
groups using questionnaires to avoid the time consuming method of interviews. The
research also highlights the need for more qualitative analysis to explore the reasons
why some young people are less active than others.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.