Assessment of physical activity using accelerometry, an activity diary, the heart rate method and the Indian migration study questionnaire in south Indian adults

Public Health Nutr. 2010 Jan;13(1):47-53. doi: 10.1017/S1368980009005850. Epub 2009 Aug 5.


Objective: To validate questionnaire-based physical activity level (PAL) against accelerometry and a 24 h physical activity diary (24 h AD) as reference methods (Protocol 2), after validating these reference methods against the heart rate-oxygen consumption (HRVO2) method (Protocol 1).

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Setting: Two villages in Andhra Pradesh state and Bangalore city, South India.

Subjects: Ninety-four participants (fifty males, forty-four females) for Protocol 2; thirteen males for Protocol 1.

Results: In Protocol 2, mean PAL derived from the questionnaire (1.72 (sd 0.20)) was comparable to that from the 24 h AD (1.78 (sd 0.20)) but significantly higher than the mean PAL derived from accelerometry (1.36 (sd 0.20); P < 0.001). Mean bias of PAL from the questionnaire was larger against the accelerometer (0.36) than against the 24 h AD (-0.06), but with large limits of agreement against both. Correlations of PAL from the questionnaire with that of the accelerometer (r = 0.28; P = 0.01) and the 24 h AD (r = 0.30; P = 0.006) were modest. In Protocol 1, mean PAL from the 24 h AD (1.65 (sd 0.18)) was comparable, while that from the accelerometer (1.51 (sd 0.23)) was significantly lower (P < 0.001), than mean PAL obtained from the HRVO2 method (1.69 (sd 0.21)).

Conclusions: The questionnaire showed acceptable validity with the reference methods in a group with a wide range of physical activity levels. The accelerometer underestimated PAL in comparison with the HRVO2 method.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Basal Metabolism / physiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / physiology*
  • Humans
  • India
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity* / physiology
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Reference Values
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*
  • Young Adult