Sports Medicine

, Volume 40, Issue 7, pp 565–600 | Cite as

Physical Activity Questionnaires for Adults

A Systematic Review of Measurement Properties
  • Mireille N. M. van Poppel
  • Mai J. M. Chinapaw
  • Lidwine B. Mokkink
  • Willem van Mechelen
  • Caroline B. Terwee
Review Article


Many questionnaires have been developed to measure physical activity (PA), but an overview of the measurement properties of PA questionnaires is lacking. A summary of this information is useful for choosing the best questionnaire available. Therefore, the objective of this study was to evaluate and compare measurement properties of self-administered questionnaires assessing PA in adults. We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE and SportDiscus®, using ‘exercise’, ‘physical activity’, ‘motor activity’ and ‘questionnaire’ as keywords. We included studies that evaluated the measurement properties of self-report questionnaires assessing PA. Article selection, data extraction and quality assessment were performed by two independent reviewers. The quality and results of the studies were evaluated using the Quality Assessment of Physical Activity Questionnaires (QAPAQ) checklist. Construct validity, reliability and responsiveness were rated as positive, negative or indeterminate, depending on the methods and results. We included 85 (versions of) questionnaires. Overall, the quality of the studies assessing measurement properties of PA questionnaires was rather poor. Information on content validity was mostly lacking. Construct validity was assessed in 76 of the questionnaires, mostly by correlations with accelerometer data, maximal oxygen uptake or activity diaries. Fifty-one questionnaires were tested for reliability. Only a few questionnaires had sufficient construct validity and reliability, but these need to be further validated. Responsiveness was studied for only two questionnaires and was poor. There is a clear lack of standardization of PA questionnaires, resulting in many variations of questionnaires. No questionnaire or type of questionnaire for assessing PA was superior and therefore could not be strongly recommended above others. In the future, more attention should be paid to the methodology of studies assessing measurement properties of PA questionnaires and the quality of reporting.


Physical Activity Construct Validity Measurement Property Content Validity Total Physical Activity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



No sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this review. The authors have no conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this review.


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© Adis Data Information BV 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mireille N. M. van Poppel
    • 1
  • Mai J. M. Chinapaw
    • 1
  • Lidwine B. Mokkink
    • 2
  • Willem van Mechelen
    • 1
  • Caroline B. Terwee
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Public and Occupational Health, EMGO Institute for Health and Care ResearchVU University Medical CenterAmsterdamthe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, EMGO Institute for Health and Care ResearchVU University Medical CenterAmsterdamthe Netherlands

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