Testing the Reliability of Neighborhood-Specific Measures of Physical Activity Among Canadian Adults

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Capturing neighborhood-specific physical activity is necessary to advance understanding of the relations between neighborhood walkability and physical activity. This study examined the test–retest reliability of previously developed items (from the Neighborhood Physical Activity Questionnaire) for capturing setting-specific physical activity among Canadian adults.


Randomly sampled adults (N = 117) participated in 2 telephone interviews 2 to 5 days apart. Respondents were asked a series of items capturing frequency and duration of transportation-related walking, recreational walking, and moderate- and vigorous-intensity physical activity undertaken inside and outside the neighborhood in a usual week. The test–test reliability of reported physical activity levels were then examined using intraclass and Spearman’s rank correlations, kappa coefficients, and overall agreement.


Participation, frequency, and the duration of transportation-related and recreational walking and vigorous-intensity physical activity inside and outside the neighborhood showed moderate to excellent test–retest reliability. Moderate reliability was found for moderate-intensity physical activity undertaken inside (k = .48; ICC frequency = .38; ICC duration = .39) and outside (k = .51; ICC frequency = .79; ICC duration = .31) the neighborhood.


Neighborhood-specific physical activity items administered by telephone interview are reliable and are therefore appropriate for use in future studies examining neighborhood walk-ability and physical activity.

McCormack and Shiell are with the Dept of Community Health Sciences; Doyle-Baker, the Faculty of Kinesiology; and Sandalack, the Faculty of Environmental Design, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Friedenreich is with the Div of Population Health and Information, Alberta Cancer Board, Alberta, Canada. Giles-Corti is with the School of Population Health, University of Western Australia.