Background: Understanding and increasing physical activity requires assessment of occupational, home, leisure and sedentary activities. Methods: A physical activity questionnaire was developed using data from a large representative U.S. sample; includes occupational, leisure and home-based domains; and produces estimates of energy expenditure, percent body fat, minutes in various domains, and meeting recommendations. It was tested in 396 persons, mean age 44 years. Estimates were evaluated in relation to percent body fat measured by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. Results: Median energy expenditure was 2,365 kcal (women) and 2,960 kcal (men). Women spent 35.1 minutes/day in moderate household activities, 13.0 minutes in moderate leisure and 4.0 minutes in vigorous activities. Men spent 18.0, 22.5 and 15.6 minutes/day in those activities, respectively. Men and women spent 276.4 and 257.0 minutes/day in sedentary activities. Respondents who met recommendations through vigorous activities had significantly lower percent body fat than those who did not, while meeting recommendations only through moderate activities was not associated with percent body fat. Predicted and observed percent body fat correlated at r = .73 and r = .82 for men and women respectively, P < .0001. Conclusions: This questionnaire may be useful for understanding health effects of different components of activity, and for interventions to increase activity levels.