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Table 2 Classification of physical activity outcome domains

From: A core outcome set for randomised controlled trials of physical activity interventions: development and challenges

Outcome domain Definition
Adverse events An untoward health or medical occurrence in an individual (e.g. injuries, pain, falls). The adverse event does not necessarily have a causal relationship with the trial intervention.
Biophysical health Health as defined through biological or physical measures; properties; and/or norms. Examples include signs (e.g. blood pressure), symptoms (e.g. pain) and comorbidities.
Cost-effectiveness Cost-effectiveness is the degree to which something is effective or productive in relation to its cost i.e. good value for money.
Health-related quality of life A broad multidimensional concept that focuses on an individual’s self-perceived and subjective health, and impact of health and disease (including symptoms) on day to day life. Dimensions include physical, mental, emotional and social functioning; and impacts of these dimensions associated with an individual’s perceptions such as health risks and conditions, functional status, and social support.
Level of physical activity (device-based) The objective (i.e. measured by external methods such as a pedometer) amount of physical activity or bodily movement that engages skeletal muscles and that leads to energy expenditure.
Level of physical activity (self-report) The subjective or self-reported amount of physical activity or bodily movement that engages skeletal muscles and that leads to energy expenditure.
Motivation Reasons for individual’s to act or behave in a particular way to achieve goals; fulfil basic physical (e.g. hunger) and psychological needs (e.g. social contact); or uphold values (i.e. things an individual considers important such as family and health). It can be intrinsic, which means doing an activity for its inherent satisfactions (e.g. feeling of enjoyment). It can also be extrinsic, which means doing an activity for instrumental reasons, or to obtain some outcome separable from the activity per se (e.g. gaining a tangible reward).
Other health behaviours Health behaviours other than physical activity that may vary or change as a result of engaging in physical activity. These could be lifestyle behaviours (e.g. diet, smoking); illness related behaviours (e.g. health care and/or medication use); or health outcomes (e.g. sleep quality).
Physical fitness The condition of an individual being physically strong and healthy or in other words, achieving positive health (i.e. level of health and well-being beyond the absence of illness). It can be health-related (cardio-respiratory endurance; muscular endurance and strength; body composition; flexibility; and strength) or skills-related (e.g. agility; balance; coordination; speed; power; and reaction time).
Physical function The ability to perform basic and instrumental activities of daily living including tasks such as dressing and bathing, or activities such as walking a short distance to exercising vigorously.
Satisfaction with intervention The extent to which study participants experience and perceive the physical activity intervention as positive.
Sedentary behaviour Any waking behaviour characterized by low energy expenditure, while in a sitting, reclining or lying posture. Common examples include TV viewing, desk-based occupations, computer use, passive commuting (car, taxi), reading, and playing board games.
Self-efficacy An individual’s belief about their capabilities to respond to events and to exercise control over their own activities in ways that influence events that effect their life.