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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Comparing the validity of 2 physical activity questionnaire formats in African-American and Hispanic women

item Masse, Louise
item Fulton, Janet
item Watson, Kathleen
item Tortolero, Susan
item Kohl Iii, Harold
item Meyers, Michael
item Blair, Steven
item Wong, William

Submitted to: Journal of Physical Activity and Health
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/20/2011
Publication Date: 2/1/2012
Citation: Masse, L.C., Fulton, J.E., Watson, K.B., Tortolero, S., Kohl Iii, H.W., Meyers, M.C., Blair, S.N., Wong, W.W. 2012. Comparing the validity of 2 physical activity questionnaire formats in African-American and Hispanic women. Journal of Physical Activity and Health. 9(2):237-248.

Interpretive Summary: Older minority women have increased risk of obesity and obesity-related diseases. Although physical activity plays an important role to achieve a healthy body weight, little is known about the physical activity level of older minority women. This study tested two commonly used physical activity questionnaires against three reference methods: activity monitors, activity diaries, and the doubly-labeled water method on 260 minority women between 40 and 70 years of age. The results showed that neither one of these questionnaires could accurately predict individual level of physical activity among older minority women. Therefore, better physical activity questionnaires are needed to support large field studies among older minority women.

Technical Abstract: The purpose of this study was to compare the validity of 2 physical activity questionnaire formats—one that lists activities (Checklist questionnaire) and one that assesses overall activities (Global questionnaire) by domain. Two questionnaire formats were validated among 260 African-American and Hispanic women (age 40–70) using 3 validation standards: 1) accelerometers to validate activities of ambulation; 2) diaries to validate physical activity domains (occupation, household, exercise, yard, family, volunteer/church work, and transportation); and 3) doubly-labeled water to validate physical activity energy expenditure (DLW-PAEE). The proportion of total variance explained by the Checklist questionnaire was 38.4% with diaries, 9.0% with accelerometers, and 6.4% with DLW-PAEE. The Global questionnaire explained 17.6% of the total variance with diaries and about 5% with both accelerometers and with DLWPAEE. Overall, associations with the 3 validation standards were slightly better with the Checklist questionnaire. However, agreement with DLW-PAEE was poor with both formats and the Checklist format resulted in greater overestimation. Validity results also indicated the Checklist format was better suited to recall household, family, and transportation activities. Overall, the Checklist format had slightly better measurement properties than the Global format. Both questionnaire formats are better suited to rank individuals.

Last Modified: 08/18/2017
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