Validity of a Physical Activity Questionnaire in Shanghai

National Cancer Institute, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, Bethesda, MD, USA.
Medicine and science in sports and exercise (Impact Factor: 3.98). 12/2010; 42(12):2222-30. DOI: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181e1fcd5
Source: PubMed


In large epidemiologic studies, physical activity (PA) is often assessed using PA questionnaires (PAQ). Because available PAQ may not capture the full range of PA in which urban Chinese adults engage, a PAQ was developed for this purpose. We examined the validity of this PAQ and the 1-yr stability of PA in 545 urban Shanghai adults.
The PAQ was interview-administered twice, approximately 1 yr apart, and participants also wore an accelerometer and completed a PA-log for seven consecutive days every 3 months during the same year. The intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) was used to evaluate the stability of PA across questionnaire administrations, and Spearman correlation coefficients (ρ) and mean differences and 95% limits of agreement were used to examine the validity of the questionnaire compared against accelerometry and the PA-log.
When measured by accelerometry, estimates of time spent in moderate-to-vigorous PA were lower and estimates of time spent sedentary were higher than when self-reported on the PAQ (P < 0.001). Total PA (ICC = 0.65) and PA domains (ICC = 0.45-0.85) showed moderate to high stability across PAQ administrations. Total PA (ρ = 0.30), moderate-to-vigorous activity (ρ = 0.17), light activity (ρ = 0.36), and sedentary behavior (ρ = 0.16) assessed by PAQ and by accelerometry were significantly and positively correlated, and correlations of the PAQ with the PA-log (ρ = 0.36-0.85) were stronger than those observed with accelerometry.
The PAQ significantly overestimated time spent in moderate-to-vigorous activity and underestimated time spent in light activity and sedentary behavior compared with accelerometry, but it performed well at ranking participants according to PA level.

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    • "The ability of the SP2PAQ and the IPAQ, which assesses similar domains of physical activity, to assess physical activity in Asian populations has not been evaluated. This is important because the validity of other physical activity questionnaires used in Asian population such as the questionnaire in the Shanghai physical activity study had limited validity for moderate-to-vigorous intensity (spearman correlation of 0.17)[15]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Physical activity patterns of a population remain mostly assessed by the questionnaires. However, few physical activity questionnaires have been validated in Asian populations. We previously utilized a combination of different questionnaires to assess leisure time, transportation, occupational and household physical activity in the Singapore Prospective Study Program (SP2). The International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) has been developed for a similar purpose. In this study, we compared estimates from these two questionnaires with an objective measure of physical activity in a multi-ethnic Asian population. Physical activity was measured in 152 Chinese, Malay and Asian Indian adults using an accelerometer over five consecutive days, including a weekend. Participants completed both the physical activity questionnaire in SP2 (SP2PAQ) and IPAQ long form. 43 subjects underwent a second set of measurements on average 6 months later to assess reproducibility of the questionnaires and the accelerometer measurements. Spearman correlations were used to evaluate validity and reproducibility and correlations for validity were corrected for within-person variation of accelerometer measurements. Agreement between the questionnaires and the accelerometer measurements was also evaluated using Bland Altman plots. The corrected correlation with accelerometer estimates of energy expenditure from physical activity was better for the SP2PAQ (vigorous activity: r = 0.73; moderate activity: r = 0.27) than for the IPAQ (vigorous activity: r = 0.31; moderate activity: r = 0.15). For moderate activity, the corrected correlation between SP2PAQ and the accelerometer was higher for Chinese (r = 0.38) and Malays (r = 0.57) than for Indians (r = -0.09). Both questionnaires overestimated energy expenditure from physical activity to a greater extent at higher levels of physical activity than at lower levels of physical activity. The reproducibility for moderate activity (accelerometer: r = 0.68; IPAQ: r = 0.58; SP2PAQ: r = 0.55) and vigorous activity (accelerometer: 0.52; IPAQ: r = 0.38; SP2PAQ: r = 0.75) was moderate to high for all instruments. The agreement between IPAQ and accelerometer measurements of energy expenditure from physical activity was poor in our Asian study population. The SP2PAQ showed good validity and reproducibility for vigorous activity, but performed less well for moderate activity particularly in Indians. Further effort is needed to develop questionnaires that better capture moderate activity in Asian populations.
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    • "The studies addressed above used objective measurements with accelerometers. The subjective amount of physical activity would probably be higher, because (older) people often indicate higher levels of physical activity than indicated by objective measurements (Troiano et al. , 2008 ; Banda et al. , 2010 ; Peters et al. , 2010b ). In addition, the prevalence of sedentary people assessed by questionnaires varies from 14 % to 41 % (Carlson et al. , 2009 ), which emphasizes the limitations of self-reported physical activity habits (Clark et al. , 2009 ; Harris et al. , 2009 ). "
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