Practicality of Veterans Specific Activity Questionnaire in evaluation of exercise capacity of community-dwelling Japanese elderly

Environ Health Prev Med. 2006 Nov;11(6):313-20. doi: 10.1007/BF02898022.


Objective: The aim of this study is to determine whether a questionnaire-based method using the Veterans Specific Activity Questionnaire (VSAQ) is a practical tool for the development of a safe exercise program to prevent a reduction in physical performance.

Methods: One hundred and twenty-one senior residents of Yakage, Okayama, agreed to voluntarily participate in this study. They were asked to complete a questionnaire for information on age, sex, subjective health status, exercise habits and VSAQ. We investigated the relationship between age and exercise capacity predicted by VSAQ (predicted metabolic equivalents (METs)). In addition, for 36 out of the 121 participants, we performed a 6-min walk distance test (6MD) and investigated whether its results correlate with the predicted METs. Furthermore, we prepared a modified VSAQ and examined its practicality in the evaluation of the exercise capacity of Japanese elderly (n=50).

Results: We found that the predicted METs correlate well with age. Habitual exercise and subjective health status did not affect the predicted METs. A significant correlation was observed between the predicted METs and the results of 6MD (r=0.56, p<0.001). We also found that certain activities included in the original VSAQ are unfamiliar to Japanese elderly; thus, we made a few modifications to the original VSAQ in order to evaluate the physical fitness of Japanese elderly. The number of inadequate answers was reduced by employing the modified VSAQ.

Conclusion: These findings imply that the modified VSAQ is useful in evaluating the exercise capacity of Japanese elderly adequately and is a practical scale for safe exercise.

Keywords: Japanese elderly; VSAQ; community health service; exercise capacity; noninvasive evaluation.