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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2013 Sep;45(9):1643-8. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31828e8f07.

Assessment of physical activity in anorexia nervosa and treatment outcome.

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  • 1Department of Neurological and Movement Sciences, University of Verona, Verona, Italy.



The aim of this study was to compare objective and subjective assessments of physical activity (PA) in patients with anorexia nervosa and its effect on treatment outcome.


Both Actiheart (AH) and International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) were used to assess PA in 52 female patients with anorexia nervosa during the first week of inpatient treatment.


No correspondence between PA estimated by IPAQ, which had a tendency to underestimate PA, and that measured using AH emerged. However, a significant association was found between the change in Eating Disorder Examination global score at the end of the treatment and light PA measured by AH (beta = -0.12, t = -2.44, P = 0.019), but not that estimated by IPAQ.


PA in patients with anorexia nervosa is underestimated by subjective assessment when compared with objective measurement. Only time spent in light PA, assessed objectively with AH, showed a negative association with improvement in eating disorder psychopathology.

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