Leisure-time physical activity as an estimate of physical fitness: a validation study

J Clin Epidemiol. 1991;44(1):41-52. doi: 10.1016/0895-4356(91)90199-j.


This paper describes a new interview questionnaire for the assessment of leisure-time physical activity (LTPA), and its validation as an alternative estimate of physical fitness. British subjects (77 males, 41 females) provided details of their LTPA over a period of a "typical" 2 weeks, enabling the estimation of the energy expended. Physical fitness was assessed with a battery of measures, the optimal single measure being sub-maximal physical work capacity (PWC). The questionnaire showed LTPA to be stable following test-retest administration (r = 0.86; p less than 0.0001) for total LTPA energy expenditure. Total LTPA was found to be significantly related to PWC (r = 0.48, p less than 0.0001), as were very hard (r = 0.55; p less than 0.0001) and hard LTPA (r = 0.38; p less than 0.0001). Multiple regression analysis with PWC as the dependent variable yielded a multiple correlation of r = 0.87, with significant contributions from very hard and hard LTPA. It is concluded that whilst this questionnaire is both reliable and a valid estimate of physical fitness amongst a population consistent in their leisure-time physical activities, there is scope for its further use within larger populations, allowing for an analysis of the effects of age and gender on the associations so far observed.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • England
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Leisure Activities*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity*
  • Physical Fitness*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Surveys and Questionnaires