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The Validity and Value of Self-reported Physical Activity and Accelerometry in People With Schizophrenia: A Population-Scale Study of the UK Biobank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Joseph Firth, Brendon Stubbs, Davy Vancampfort, Felipe B Schuch, Simon Rosenbaum, Philip B Ward, Josh A Firth, Jerome Sarris, Alison R Yung

Original languageEnglish
Article numbersbx149
Number of pages8
JournalSchizophrenia Bulletin
Early online date24 Oct 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Oct 2017


King's Authors


Previous physical activity (PA) research in schizophrenia has relied largely upon self-report measures. However, the accuracy of this method is questionable. Obtaining accurate measurements, and determining what may influence PA levels in schizophrenia, is essential to understand physical inactivity in this population. This study examined differences in self-reported and objectively measured PA in people with schizophrenia and the general population using a large, population-based dataset from the UK Biobank.
Baseline data from the UK Biobank (2007–2010) were analyzed; including 1078 people with schizophrenia (54.19 ± 8.39 years; 55% male) and 450549 without (56.44 ± 8.11; 46% male). We compared self-reported PA with objectively measured accelerometry data in schizophrenia and comparison samples. We also examined correlations between self-report and objective measures.
People with schizophrenia reported the same PA levels as those without, with no differences in low, moderate, or vigorous intensity activity. However, accelerometry data showed a large and statistically significant reduction of PA in schizophrenia; as people with schizophrenia, on average, engaged in less PA than 80% of the general population. Nonetheless, within the schizophrenia sample, total self-reported PA still held significant correlations with objective measures.
People with schizophrenia are significantly less active than the general population. However, self-report measures in epidemiological studies fail to capture the reduced activity levels in schizophrenia. This also has implications for self-report measures of other lifestyle factors which may contribute toward the poor health outcomes observed in schizophrenia. Nonetheless, self-report measures may still be useful for identifying how active individuals with schizophrenia relative to other patients.

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