Measuring Physical Activity With a Single Question

Am J Public Health. 1991 Jun;81(6):771-3. doi: 10.2105/ajph.81.6.771.

Abstract

Using 1,004 subjects enrolled in a worksite health promotion program, this report evaluated the validity of a single question about participation in regular exercise. Measured at baseline, this one question had a significant age-adjusted association with body mass index (p less than 0.0001 in women and p = 0.001 in men), HDL cholesterol (p less than 0.0001 in women), and oxygen capacity (p = 0.0007 in women and p = 0.002 in men). Thus, one self-reported question can provide useful information about who is and who is not participating in regular exercise. The potential validity of a single exercise question is particularly relevant in complex epidemiologic studies where lengthy questionnaires highlight the importance of brief instruments.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood*
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxygen Consumption*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*

Substances

  • Cholesterol, HDL