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Meeting the physical activity guidelines from World Health Organization that has been issued since 2010 and reducing time spent sedentary provide health benefits and reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases and all-cause mortality. Recently, in Australia, Canada, and United States and World Health Organization updated the physical activity and sedentary behaviour guidelines and extended the guidelines to both general and special population. The guidelines provide information about frequency, intensity, duration, and type of physical activity and sedentary behaviour specifically for each age group that they should engage to obtain health benefits. For special population, as in the new guidelines for children aged less than 5 years, they should engage in physical activity throughout the day, not be restrained for more than an hour per time, should limit time spent screen-based sedentary behaviour less than 1 hour a day, and should have good-quality sleep including naps between 10 and 17 hours depending on their age; for women during pregnancy and postpartum period, they should engage in at least 150-300 minutes per week of moderateintensity physical activity. In adults with chronic health conditions and adults with disabilities who are not able to meet the guidelines, they should engage in regular physical activity according to their abilities and should avoid inactivity.
The assessment of physical activity and sedentary behaviour is important to 1) quantify volume and pattern of physical activity and sedentary behaviour, 2) assess the determinants of physical activity and sedentary behaviour, 3) determine whether people are meeting physical activity recommendations, and 4) determine the relationship between physical activity or sedentary behaviour and health of people.
The measurement of physical activity and sedentary behaviour should be valid, reliable, accurate, internationally agreeable, robust but not cumbersome, and cost effective. It is suggested that the researchers should use at least two tools (e.g. an accelerometer and questionnaire) to assess physical activity levels and time spent sedentary.
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