Reliability and Validity of a Brief Tool to Measure Children’s Physical Activity

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Shujun Gao
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Lisa Harnack
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Kathryn Schmitz
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Janet Fulton
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Leslie Lytle
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Pamela Van Coevering
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David R. Jacobs Jr.
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Background:

We assessed the validity and reliability of a modified Godin-Leisure-Time Exercise Questionnaire in youth in grades 6 through 8.

Methods:

The questionnaire was completed by 250 children twice at a 1 wk interval to assess reliability. After the second questionnaire administration the children wore an accelerometer for 7 d (criterion measure).

Results:

Pearson correlations between the first and second reports of frequency of participation in strenuous and moderate physical activity were 0.68 and 0.51, respectively. Self-reported participation in strenuous activity was weakly correlated with strenuous activity as measured by accelerometer (r = 0.23, P = 0.01). A weak non-significant correlation was found between reported versus measured engagement in moderate activity (r = 0.13, P = 0.07).

Conclusion:

Findings suggest the questionnaire evaluated in this study may be of very limited use for assessing children’s physical activity.

Gao, Harnack, Lytle, Van Coevering, and Jacobs are with the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55454. Schmitz is with the Division of Epidemiology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104. Fulton is with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Atlanta, GA 30341.

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