Comparison of Questionnaire and Device Measures of Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior in a Multi-Ethnic Cohort of Older Women

in Journal for the Measurement of Physical Behaviour
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Background: Limited data are available regarding the correlation between questionnaire and device-measured physical activity (PA) and sedentary behavior (SB) in older women. Methods: We evaluated these correlations in 5,992 women, aged 63 and older, who completed the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) and Community Healthy Activities Model Program for Seniors (CHAMPS) PA questionnaires and the CARDIA SB questionnaire prior to wearing a hip-worn accelerometer for 7 consecutive days. Accelerometer-measured total, light, and moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA), and total SB time were defined according to cutpoints established in a calibration study. Spearman coefficients were used to evaluate correlations between questionnaire and device measures. Results: Mean time spent in PA and SB was lower for questionnaire than accelerometer measures, with variation in means according to age, race/ethnicity, body mass index, and functional status. Overall, correlations between questionnaires and accelerometer measures were moderate for total PA, MVPA, and SB (r ≈ 0.20–0.40). Light intensity PA correlated weakly for WHI (r ≈ 0.01–0.06) and was variable for CHAMPS (r ≈ 0.07–0.22). Conclusion: Questionnaire and accelerometer estimates of total PA, MVPA, and SB have at best moderate correlations in older women and should not be assumed to be measuring the same behaviors or quantity of behavior. Light intensity PA is poorly measured by questionnaire. Because light intensity activities account for the largest proportion of daily activity time in older adults, and likely contribute to its health benefits, further research should investigate how to improve measurement of light intensity PA by questionnaires.

LaMonte is with the Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY. Lee is with the Department of Epidemiology, Harvard University, Boston, MA. Rillamas-Sun and Di are with the Division of Public Health Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA. Bellettiere and LaCroix are with the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, University of California San Diego, San Diego, CA. Evenson is with the Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC. Buchner is with the Department of Kinesiology, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Urbana-Champaign, IL. Lewis is with the Department of Epidemiology, University of Alabama Birmingham, Birmingham, AL. Rosenberg is with the Kaiser Permanente Health Research Institute, Seattle, WA. Stefanick is with the Department of Medicine, Stanford Prevention Research Center, Stanford University, Stanford, CA.

LaMonte ( is corresponding author.

Supplementary Materials

    • Supplementary Table 1 (PDF 503 KB)
    • Supplementary Table 2 (PDF 369 KB)