The Short Questionnaire to Assess Health-Enhancing (SQUASH) Physical Activity in Adolescents: A Validation Using Doubly Labeled Water

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Accurate assessment of physical activity energy expenditure (PAEE) among adolescents is important for surveillance, evaluating interventions, and understanding the relation between energy balance and normal physiological and behavioral growth and development. The purpose of this study was to examine the validity of the Short Questionnaire to Assess Health-Enhancing Physical Activity (SQUASH)13 for measuring PAEE among adolescents.


The participants were seventeen adolescents (9 females; Mean age = 17.53; SD = 0.62). Energy expenditure was measured during a 9-day period with doubly labeled water (DLW). The SQUASH was self-administered on the morning of the 10th day and assessed commuting activities, leisure time activities, household activities, and activities at work and school over the previous 9 days.


A Bland-Altman plot indicated that the SQUASH underestimated PAEE compared with DLW by a mean difference of 126 kcal·d−1 (95% limits of agreement: –1,207 to 1,459 kcal·d−1), representative of a 10% underestimation. The Spearman rank order correlation coefficient showed there was a significant association between the SQUASH and DLW (r = .50, P = .04), for estimating PAEE.


When using a sample of highly active adolescents, the SQUASH is a valid self-report tool for measuring PAEE at the group and individual rank order level.

Campbell (, Gaston, Gray, and Prapavessis are with The Exercise and Health Psychology Laboratory, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada. Rush is with the Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition, School of Sport and Recreation, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand. Maddison is with the National Institute for Health Innovation, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.