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Public Health


Background: The purpose of this study was to compare the validity of 2 physical activity questionnaire formats - one that lists activities (Checklist questionnaire) and one that assesses overall activities (Global questionnaire) by domain.

Methods: Two questionnaire formats were validated among 260 African-American and Hispanic women (age 40-70) using 3 validation standards: 1) accelerometers to validate activities of ambulation; 2) diaries to validate physical activity domains (occupation, household, exercise, yard, family, volunteer/church work, and transportation); and 3) doubly-labeled water to validate physical activity energy expenditure (DLW-PAEE).

Results: The proportion of total variance explained by the Checklist questionnaire was 38.4% with diaries, 9.0% with accelerometers, and 6.4% with DLW-PAEE. The Global questionnaire explained 17.6% of the total variance with diaries and about 5% with both accelerometers and with DLW-PAEE. Overall, associations with the 3 validation standards were slightly better with the Checklist questionnaire. However, agreement with DLW-PAEE was poor with both formats and the Checklist format resulted in greater overestimation. Validity results also indicated the Checklist format was better suited to recall household, family, and transportation activities.

Conclusions: Overall, the Checklist format had slightly better measurement properties than the Global format. Both questionnaire formats are better suited to rank individuals.

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