Research Study Abstract

Assessing Health-Related Physical Activity: Does Questionnaire Data Fit Accelerometer Data with Regard to Different Age Groups?

  • Presented on July 3, 2014

Introduction: Assessing the level of physical activity (PA) is highly relevant when talking about health related behavior. Although self-report questionnaires (PAQ) are the most commonly used method for measurement population PA, this type of assessment has limitations. PAQs have to primarily consider the change in PA behavior over lifespan and seconarily to handle the bias, that results are dependent of a person’s ability to accurately recall and record all PA (Warren et al., 2010). The aim of thie study is to compare objectively measured PA levels gathered using accelerometry (ActiGraph GT3x) with two PAQs (IPAQ-long and FFkA; Craig et al., 2003, Frey et al., 1999) relative to participants’ age. While a number of validity studies on the IPAQ exist, such studies on the FFkA are scarce.

Methods: ActiGraph GT3x accelerometers were worn by 200 individuals aged 20-79 years (mean=38,1; sd=16,3), 48% female, BMI 24,3 (sd=3,5) for seven days during all waking periods, except swimming and showering. Right after this period participants recalled their activity behavior and filled out the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ-long) and a German PAQ (FFkA).

Results: Activity level is decreasing with increasing age (GT3x; p<.001). Self-reported data of IPAQ correlates with objective measured data by middle-aged persons (30-59 yrs.) (r=.424**) and active people (≥300 min/week active) (r=.436***) only. There were no correlations between FFkA and GT3x. Men seem to be able to recall their activity more accurately.

Discussion: The results indicate that not age seems to influence recall ability leadingly. It is more probable that the accuracy of the PAQs is directed by quantity and context of items (e.g. domains of activityes). Researchers and practitioners need to choose the best fitting tool according to research question, aim of study, target group and outcome.

References: Craig, C.L., Marshall, A.L., Sjöström, M., Bauman, A.E., Booth, M.L., Ainsworth, B.E., Pratt, M., Ekelund, U.L., Yngve, A., Sallis, J.F. & Oja, P. (2003). International Physical Activity Questionnaire: 12-Country Reliability and Validity. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 35 (8), 1381–1395. Frey, I., Berg, A., Grathwol, D. & Keul, J. (1999). Freiburger Fragebogen zur körperlichen Aktivität. Entwicklung, Prüfung und Anwendung. Sozial- und Präventivmedizin, 44 (2), 55–64. Warren, J.M., Ekelund, U., Besson, H., Mezzani, A., Geladas, N. & Vanhees, L. (2010). As sessment of physical activity – a review of methodologies with reference to epidemiological research: a report of the exercise physiology section of the European Association of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation. European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention & Rehabilitation, 17 (2), 127–139. Contact