Is it possible to assess free-living physical activity and energy expenditure in young people by self-report?

MRC Epidemiology Unit, Institute of Metabolic Science, Cambridge, United Kingdom.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Impact Factor: 6.77). 02/2009; 89(3):862-70. DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.2008.26739
Source: PubMed


It is unclear whether it is possible to accurately estimate physical activity energy expenditure (PAEE) by self-report in youth.
We assessed the validity and reliability of 4 self-reports to assess PAEE and time spent at moderate and vigorous intensity physical activity (MVPA) over the previous week in British young people between 4 and 17 y of age.
PAEE and MVPA were derived from the Children's Physical Activity Questionnaire, Youth Physical Activity Questionnaire, and Swedish Adolescent Physical Activity Questionnaire; a lifestyle score indicative of habitual activity was derived from the Child Heart and Health Study in England Questionnaire. These data were compared with criterion methods, PAEE, and MVPA derived from simultaneous measurements by doubly labeled water and accelerometry in 3 age groups: 4-5 y (n = 27), 12-13 y (n = 25), and 16-17 y (n = 24). Validity was assessed by using Spearman correlations and the Bland-Altman method, and reliability was assessed by using intraclass correlation coefficients.
The strength of association between questionnaire and criterion methods varied (r = 0.09 to r = 0.46). Some questionnaires were able to accurately assess group-level PAEE and MVPA for some age groups, but the error was large for individual-level estimates throughout. Reliability of the Youth Physical Activity Questionnaire and Child Heart and Health Study in England Questionnaire was good (intraclass correlation coefficient: 0.64-0.92).
Absolute PAEE and MVPA estimated from these self-reports were not valid on an individual level in young people, although some questionnaires appeared to rank individuals accurately. Age (the outcome of interest) and whether individual or group-level estimates are necessary will influence the best choice of self-report method when assessing physical activity in youth.

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    • "However, Arvidsson et al. [6] have documented that, in comparison to DLW measures of physical activity, the physical activity questionnaire for adolescents was not able to accurately predict physical activity in a group of Swedish adolescents. As a result of this conflicting evidence, Corder et al. [7], just recently, assessed the validity and reliability of four self-reports to assess physical activity and time spent at moderate and vigorous intensity physical activity in British young people between 4 and 17 years of age, against measures of DLW. The strength of association between questionnaire and criterion methods varied (í µí±Ÿ = 0.09 to í µí±Ÿ = 0.46). "
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction. Self-reported measures of habitual physical activity rely completely on the respondent's ability to provide accurate information on their own physical activity behaviours. Our aim was to investigate if obese adolescents could accurately report their physical activity levels (PAL) using self-reported diaries. Methods. Total energy expenditure (TEE) was measured using doubly labelled water (DLW) and resting energy expenditure (REE) was measured via indirect calorimetry. Activity energy expenditure (AEE) and PAL values were derived from measured TEE and REE. Self-reported, four-day activity diaries were used to calculate daily MET values and averaged to give an estimated PAL value (ePAL). Results. Twenty-two obese adolescents, mean age 13.2 ± 1.8 years, mean BMI 31.3 ± 4.6 kg/m(2), completed the study. No significant differences between mean measured and estimated PAL values were observed (1.37 ± 0.13 versus 1.40 ± 0.34, P = 0.74). Bland Altman analysis illustrated a significant relationship (r = -0.76, P < 0.05) between the two methods; thus the bias was not consistent across a range of physical activity levels, with the more inactive overreporting their physical activity. Conclusion. At an individual level, obese adolescents are unlikely to be able to provide an accurate estimation of their own activity.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · Journal of nutrition and metabolism
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    • "Considering the complexities of classifying and coding physical activity, it is actually quite naive to expect raw, uncalibrated, self-report estimates to even come close to individual-level estimates of PA [10]. However, questionnaires have been shown to be able to rank people according to their activity and estimate group-level PA in young populations with reasonable accuracy [6,10]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: The utility of self-report measures of physical activity (PA) in youth can be greatly enhanced by calibrating self-report output against objectively measured PA data.This study demonstrates the potential of calibrating self-report output against objectively measured physical activity (PA) in youth by using a commonly used self-report tool called the Physical Activity Questionnaire (PAQ). Methods: A total of 148 participants (grades 4 through 12) from 9 schools (during the 2009-2010 school year) wore an Actigraph accelerometer for 7 days and then completed the PAQ. Multiple linear regression modeling was used on 70% of the available sample to develop a calibration equation and this was cross validated on an independent sample of participants (30% of sample). Results: A calibration model with age, gender, and PAQ scores explained 40% of the variance in values for the percentage of time in moderate-to-vigorous PA (%MVPA) measured from the accelerometers (%MVPA = 14.56 - (sex*0.98) - (0.84*age) + (1.01*PAQ)). When tested on an independent, hold-out sample, the model estimated %MVPA values that were highly correlated with the recorded accelerometer values (r = .63) and there was no significant difference between the estimated and recorded activity values (mean diff. = 25.3 ± 18.1 min; p = .17). Conclusions: These results suggest that the calibrated PAQ may be a valid alternative tool to activity monitoring instruments for estimating %MVPA in groups of youth.
    Full-text · Article · May 2014 · BMC Public Health
    • "One recommendation was to measure and adjust for physical activity. Despite Lee and Park [1] estimated physical activity by a questionnaire (IPAQ), it is well established that this subjective tool may produce information bias, and consequently, there is no single physical activity questionnaire able accurately to assess physical activity energy expenditure [4]. Taking into consideration this methodological limitation, we recently examined the association between adolescent's sleep time and the sum of 4 skinfolds (as marker of adiposity), adjusting for an objective method to assess physical activity (accelerometry) [5]. "

    No preview · Article · Apr 2014 · Nutrition, metabolism, and cardiovascular diseases: NMCD
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