Utility of field-based techniques to assess Indigenous Australians' functional fitness and sedentary time

A.J. Sushames, A.M. Edwards, J.K. Mein, K.M. Sinclair, G. P. Maguire

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To examine the utility of field-based techniques to assess functional exercise capacity and sedentary time in Indigenous and non-Indigenous regional Australian adults. Study design: Observational, analytic cohort study. Methods: Ninety six adults residing in regional and remote Australian communities participated in this study (Indigenous n = 61 and non-Indigenous Australians n = 35). Participants undertook a field-based test of functional exercise capacity (6 min walk test; 6 MWT) and wore an accelerometer during waking hours for seven days, provided self-report data on physical activity and sedentary time and rated experiences in regard to the ease of complying with study protocols. Results: There were high levels of compliance in this study (Indigenous: 91% and non-Indigenous: 97%). Functional exercise capacity was lower in Indigenous Australians (P < 0.001), and independently associated with advancing age, higher BMI, and indigeneity, with 45% of variability in the 6 MWT distance explained by these factors. The relationship between accelerometer and self-report measures of sedentary behaviour was significant (P < 0.001) but only explained 17% of the total variation. Conclusions: This study demonstrated very good compliance for the methods utilised and is the first to report reduced functional exercise capacity in Indigenous people. Implications: The field-based techniques from this study demonstrate good utility for larger scale implementation in regional Indigenous populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1656-1661
Number of pages6
JournalPublic Health
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Field-based assessment
  • Indigenous health
  • Physical activity

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