Systematic review of the measurement properties of self-report physical activity questionnaires in healthy adult populations

Zoë Silsbury, Robert Goldsmith, Alison Rushton

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78 Citations (Scopus)
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Objective This systematic review evaluated the measurement properties of current self-report physical activity questionnaires (SRPAQs) completed within healthy adult populations. Design Two reviewers independently searched seven electronic databases and hand searched for articles investigating measurement properties of a SRPAQ evaluating physical activity over the previous 6 months. Articles published from 1 May 2001 to 4 December 2014 were systematically screened and eligible studies were not limited to English language sources. Articles investigating specific race, gender or socioeconomic populations were excluded. Results 10 studies investigating 10 SRPAQs were included. The methodological quality of the included studies was evaluated using COnsensus-based Standards for the selection of health Measurement INstruments (COSMIN) and ranged from ‘poor’ to ‘good’. The Recent Physical Activity Questionnaire, International Physical Activity Questionnaires and Physical Activity Assessment Tool demonstrated good/excellent test–retest reliability (intra-class coefficient (ICC)=0.76, p<0.0001; r=0.627–0.91; r=0.618, p<0.001, respectively), but variable criterion validity (r=0.67, p<0.0001; r=−0.02–0.43; r=0.392, p<0.01, respectively). The single-item measure showed significant criterion validity against an accelerometer (for moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) k=0.23, 95% CI 0.05 to 0.41; and physical activity ≥10 min bouts 0.39 (95% CI 0.14 to 0.64). Construct validity of the six-point scale and Human Activity Profile varied significantly with age, marital status and presence of comorbidities (p<0.05, <0.01, <0.000 and p<0.05, <0.05, <0.000, respectively). The 1 week Godlin-Shephard recall demonstrated ‘moderate’ validity with the gold standard measure of accelerometry (r=0.43). Conclusions Inconclusive evidence exists. Further investigation of criterion validity of the short-form International Physical Activity Questionnaire is required, as it demonstrated excellent test–retest reliability. PROSPERO number CRD42012002484.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere008430
JournalBMJ open
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2015


  • Preventive Medicine
  • Public Health
  • Rehabilitation Medicine


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