Assessment of a one-page questionnaire on long-term recreational physical activity

Epidemiology. 2004 Jan;15(1):105-13. doi: 10.1097/01.ede.0000091604.32542.97.


Background: Physical activity is associated with a reduced risk of several chronic diseases. Although there is considerable published research on methods to assess current or recent recreational physical activity, there are few short, self-administered questionnaires designed to assess long-term physical activity.

Methods: We developed a one-page questionnaire to capture data on usual recreational physical activity during the preceding 10 years. This questionnaire was used in a cohort study of adults age 50 to 75 years residing in western Washington state. To examine the measurement characteristics of this questionnaire, we compared metabolic equivalent task (MET)-hours derived from this short questionnaire to MET-hours estimated from a detailed comparison interview in a subsample (n = 217) and to current body mass index (BMI; weight in kilograms/height in square meters) in the full sample of 57,811 persons.

Results: The age- and sex-adjusted partial Pearson correlation coefficient for total recreational activity between the 2 instruments was 0.68. In the full cohort, BMI was inversely correlated with physical activity as assessed by the one-page questionnaire (r = -0.22).

Conclusions: This short questionnaire measures long-term physical activity at a level of precision appropriate to the examination of associations in studies of physical activity and disease.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cohort Studies
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Fitness*
  • Recreation*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*