Test-retest reliability of four physical activity measures used in population surveys

J Sci Med Sport. 2004 Jun;7(2):205-15. doi: 10.1016/s1440-2440(04)80010-0.


Accurate monitoring of prevalence and trends in population levels of physical activity (PA) is a fundamental public health need. Test-retest reliability (repeatability) was assessed in population samples for four self-report PA measures: the Active Australia survey (AA, N=356), the short International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ, N=104), the physical activity items in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS, N=127) and in the Australian National Health Survey (NHS, N=122). Percent agreement and Kappa statistics were used to assess reliability of classification of activity status as 'active', 'insufficiently active' or 'sedentary'. Intraclass correlations (ICCs) were used to assess agreement on minutes of activity reported for each item of each survey and for total minutes. Percent agreement scores for activity status were very good on all four instruments, ranging from 60% for the NHS to 79% for the IPAQ. Corresponding Kappa statistics ranged from 0.40 (NHS) to 0.52 (AA). For individual items, ICCs were highest for walking (0.45 to 0.78) and vigorous activity (0.22 to 0.64) and lowest for the moderate questions (0.16 to 0.44). All four measures provide acceptable levels of test-retest reliability for assessing both activity status and sedentariness, and moderate reliability for assessing total minutes of activity.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity*
  • Population Surveillance / methods*
  • Queensland
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sports Medicine / instrumentation
  • Sports Medicine / methods*
  • Statistics as Topic / methods