A lifestyle assessment and intervention tool for pediatric weight management: the HABITS questionnaire

J Hum Nutr Diet. 2011 Feb;24(1):96-100. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-277X.2010.01126.x. Epub 2010 Sep 30.


Background: Lifestyle assessment and intervention tools are useful in promoting pediatric weight management. The present study aimed to establish convergent validity and reliability for a quick simple measure of food intake and physical activity/sedentary behaviour. The HABITS questionnaire can be used to identify and monitor behavioural intervention targets.

Methods: Thirty-five youths (ages 7-16 years) were recruited from the waiting area of the Jacobi Medical Center Child and Teen Health Services. To establish convergent validity for the HABITS questionnaire, study participants completed the HABITS questionnaire, a 24-h recall and a modified version of the Modifiable Activity Questionnaire for Adolescents (MAQ). Participants completed a second HABITS questionnaire within 1 month to assess test-retest reliability. Internal consistency for dietary and physical activity/sedentary behaviour subscales was assessed using Cronbach's alpha, and test-retest reliability was assessed using Cohen's Kappa coefficient. Spearman's rank correlation coefficients were calculated for individual items using the 24-h recall and the MAQ as reference standards.

Results: The HABITS questionnaire subscales showed moderate internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha of 0.61 and 0.59 for the dietary and physical activity/sedentary behaviour subscale, respectively). The test-retest reliability was 0.94 for the dietary subscale and 0.87 for the physical activity/sedentary behaviour subscale. Several items on the HABITS questionnaire were moderately correlated with information reported in the MAQ and the 24-h recall (r = 0.38-0.59, P < 0.05).

Conclusions: The HABITS questionnaire can reliably be used in a paediatric setting to quickly assess key dietary and physical activity/sedentary behaviours and to promote behaviour change for weight management.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / physiology
  • Behavior Therapy / methods
  • Behavior Therapy / standards*
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Child
  • Child Behavior / physiology*
  • Female
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Nutrition Assessment*
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Obesity / therapy
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*