Objective: This study aimed to explore methodological issues in piloting a recently developed physical activity diary for young people. Design: Fifty-five participants aged 9-14 years completed the diary four times a day for seven consecutive days, recording the duration and intensity level of all activities in which they engaged. Setting: Participants were randomly selected from two primary and two secondary schools in Hull and East Yorkshire. Method: Following diary completion, focus group discussions were conducted to ascertain participants' perceptions of the diary. In addition, analysis of diary entries was carried out to investigate the quality of data collected. Results: Administration of the diary was a relatively quick and easy process, although meetings with teachers and pupils were occasionally problematic and required thorough organization as well as constant verbal and written reminders. Meetings with participants were held during break times and were not intrusive to the school timetable. Ninety-one per cent of the diaries were returned, eleven per cent of which were invalid. The quality of data derived from the diaries was very good and extremely detailed. Participants reported that completion of the diary had been relatively straightforward, although it was inconvenient to carry around and difficult to remember to fill in. Conclusion: It was concluded that the diary had the potential to assess young people's physical activity habits, and that participants were willing to commit time and effort to complete the diary. The accuracy of data is reliant upon effective strategies for instructing young people how to complete the diary, and might be improved with parental and teacher support.
- Physical activity
- Young people