Purpose: The aim was to evaluate the reliability and validity of the Fels physical activity questionnaire (PAQ) for children 7-19 yr of age.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 130 girls and 99 boys in elementary (N=70), middle (N=81), and high (N=78) schools in rural Maryland. Weight and height were measured on the initial school visit. All the children then wore an Actiwatch accelerometer for 6 d. The Fels PAQ for children was given on two separate occasions to evaluate reliability and was compared with accelerometry data to evaluate validity.
Results: The reliability of the Fels PAQ for the girls, boys, and the elementary, middle, and high school age groups range was r=0.48-0.76. For the elementary school children, the correlation coefficient examining validity between the Fels PAQ total score and Actiwatch (counts per minute) was 0.34 (P=0.004). The correlation coefficients were lower in middle school (r=0.11, P=0.31) and high school (r=0.21, P=0.006) adolescents. The sport index of the Fels PAQ for children had the highest validity in the high school participants (r=0.34, P=0.002).
Conclusion: The Fels PAQ for children is moderately reliable for all age groups of children. Validity of the Fels PAQ for children is acceptable for elementary and high school students when the total activity score or the sport index is used. The sport index was similar to the total score for elementary students but was a better measure of physical activity among high school students.