Development of the digital assessment of precise physical activity (DAPPA) tool for older adults

Rosie Essery, James Denison-Day, Elisabeth Grey, Emma Priestley, Katherine Bradbury, Nanette Mutrie, Max J. Western*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Physical activity (PA) is central to maintaining health and wellbeing as we age. Valid, reliable measurement tools are vital for understanding, and evaluating PA. There are limited options for comprehensively, accurately and affordably measuring older adults’ PA at scale at present. We aimed to develop a digital PA measurement tool specifically for adults aged 65+ using a person-based approach. We collated evidence from target users, field experts and the relevant literature to learn how older adults comprehend PA and would accept a digital tool. Findings suggest that older adults’ PA is often integrated into their daily life activities and that commonly applied terminology (e.g., moderate and vigorous) can be difficult to interpret. We also found that there is increasing familiarity with digital platforms amongst older adults, and that technological simplicity is valued. These findings informed the development of a digital tool that asks users to report their activities across key PA domains and dimensions from the previous 7-days. Users found the tool easy to navigate and comprehensive in terms of activity reporting. However, real-world usability testing revealed that users struggled with seven-day recall. Further work will address the identified issues, including creating a single-day reporting option, before commencing work to validate this new tool.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7949
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 29 Oct 2020


  • digital health
  • measurement
  • older adults
  • physical activity


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