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Mobility assessment of a rural population in the Netherlands using GPS measurements.

Klous, G., Smit, L.A.M., Borlée, F., Coutinho, R.A., Kretzschmar, M.E.E., Huss, A. Mobility assessment of a rural population in the Netherlands using GPS measurements. International Journal of Health Geographics: 2017, 16(1), 30
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Background
The home address is a common spatial proxy for exposure assessment in epidemiological studies but mobility may introduce exposure misclassification. Mobility can be assessed using self-reports or objectively measured using GPS logging but self-reports may not assess the same information as measured mobility.

Aims
We aimed to assess mobility patterns of a rural population in the Netherlands using GPS measurements and self-reports and to compare GPS measured to self-reported data, and to evaluate correlates of differences in mobility patterns.

Method
In total 870 participants filled in a questionnaire regarding their transport modes and carried a GPS-logger for 7 consecutive days. Transport modes were assigned to GPS-tracks based on speed patterns. Correlates of measured mobility data were evaluated using multiple linear regression. We calculated walking, biking and motorised transport durations based on GPS and self-reported data and compared outcomes. We used Cohen’s kappa analyses to compare categorised self-reported and GPS measured data for time spent outdoors.

Results
Self-reported time spent walking and biking was strongly overestimated when compared to GPS measurements. Participants estimated their time spent in motorised transport accurately. Several variables were associated with differences in mobility patterns, we found for instance that obese people (BMI > 30 kg/m2) spent less time in non-motorised transport (GMR 0.69–0.74) and people with COPD tended to travel longer distances from home in motorised transport (GMR 1.42–1.51).

Conclusions
If time spent walking outdoors and biking is relevant for the exposure to environmental factors, then relying on the home address as a proxy for exposure location may introduce misclassification. In addition, this misclassification is potentially differential, and specific groups of people will show stronger misclassification of exposure than others. Performing GPS measurements and identifying explanatory factors of mobility patterns may assist in regression calibration of self-reports in other studies. (aut. ref.)