Purpose: To evaluate effectively interventions to increase physical activity among older persons, reliable and valid measures of physical activity are required that can also detect the expected types of physical activity changes in this population. This paper describes a self-report physical activity questionnaire for older men and women, developed to evaluate the outcomes of the Community Healthy Activities Model Program for Seniors (CHAMPS), an intervention to increase physical activity.
Methods: The questionnaire assesses weekly frequency and duration of various physical activities typically undertaken by older adults. We estimated caloric expenditure/wk expended in physical activity and created a summary frequency/wk measure. We calculated measures of each of these for: 1) activities of at least moderate intensity (MET value >/= 3.0); and 2) all specified physical activities, including those of light intensity. Six-month stability was estimated on participants not likely to change (assessment-only control group, physically active cohort). Several tests of construct validity were conducted, and sensitivity to change was analyzed based on response to the CHAMPS intervention.
Results: The sample (N = 249) comprised underactive persons (N = 173 from the CHAMPS trial) and active persons (N = 76). The sample was aged 65-90 yr (mean = 74, SD = 6); 64% were women, and 9% were minorities. Six-month stability ranged from 0.58 to 0.67, using intraclass correlation coefficients. Nearly all construct validity hypotheses were confirmed, though correlations were modest. All measures were sensitive to change (P < or = 0.01), with small to moderate effect sizes (0.38-0.64).
Conclusions: The CHAMPS measure may be useful for evaluating the effectiveness of programs aimed at increasing levels of physical activity in older adults.