BACKGROUND: Comparisons of objectively measured physical activity (PA) between residents of European countries measured concurrently with the same protocol are lacking. We aimed to compare PA between the seven European countries involved in the Food4Me Study, using accelerometer data collected remotely via the Internet.
METHODS: Of the 1607 participants recruited, 1287 (539 men and 748 women) provided at least 3 weekdays and 2 weekend days of valid accelerometer data (TracmorD) at baseline and were included in the present analyses.
RESULTS: Men were significantly more active than women (physical activity level = 1.74 vs. 1.70, p < 0.001). Time spent in light PA and moderate PA differed significantly between countries but only for women. Adherence to the World Health Organization recommendation to accumulate at least 150 min of moderate-equivalent PA weekly was similar between countries for men (range: 54-65%) but differed significantly between countries for women (range: 26-49%). Prevalence estimates decreased substantially for men and women in all seven countries when PA guidelines were defined as achieving 30 min of moderate and vigorous PA per day.
CONCLUSIONS: We were able to obtain valid accelerometer data in real time via the Internet from 80% of participants. Although our estimates are higher compared with data from Sweden, Norway, Portugal and the US, there is room for improvement in PA for all countries involved in the Food4Me Study.