Validity and Reliability of International Physical Activity Questionnaires for Adults across EU Countries: Systematic Review and Meta Analysis

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Sep 30;17(19):7161. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17197161.


This review and meta-analysis (PROSPERO registration number: CRD42020138845) critically evaluates test-retest reliability, concurrent validity and criterion validity of different physical activity (PA) levels of three most commonly used international PA questionnaires (PAQs) in official language versions of European Union (EU): International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ-SF), Global Physical Activity Questionnaire (GPAQ), and European Health Interview Survey-Physical Activity Questionnaire (EHIS-PAQ). In total, 1749 abstracts were screened, 287 full-text articles were identified as relevant to the study objectives, and 20 studies were included. The studies' results and quality were evaluated using the Quality Assessment of Physical Activity Questionnaires checklist. Results indicate that only ten EU countries validated official language versions of selected PAQs. A meta-analysis revealed that assessment of moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA) is the most relevant PA level outcome, since no publication bias in any of measurement properties was detected while test-retest reliability was moderately high (rw = 0.74), moderate for the criterion (rw = 0.41) and moderately-high for concurrent validity (rw = 0.72). Reporting of methods and results of the studies was poor, with an overall moderate risk of bias with a total score of 0.43. In conclusion, where only self-reporting of PA is feasible, assessment of MVPA with selected PAQs in EU adult populations is recommended.

Keywords: EHIS-PAQ; European Union; GPAQ; IPAQ; language version; measurement characteristics; measurement properties; policy.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • European Union
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Young Adult