A systematic review of proxy-report questionnaires assessing physical activity, sedentary behavior and/or sleep in young children (aged 0-5 years)

Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2022 Feb 14;19(1):18. doi: 10.1186/s12966-022-01251-x.


Background: Accurate proxy-report questionnaires, adapted to the child's developmental stage, are required to monitor 24-h movement behaviors in young children, especially for large samples and low-resource settings.

Objectives: This review aimed to summarize available studies evaluating measurement properties of proxy-report questionnaires assessing physical activity, sedentary behavior and/or sleep in children aged 0-5 years.

Methods: Systematic literature searches were carried out in the PubMed, Embase and SPORTDiscus databases, up to January 2021. For physical activity and sedentary behavior questionnaires this is a review update, whereas for sleep questionnaires we included all relevant studies published up to now. Studies had to evaluate at least one of the measurement properties of a proxy-report questionnaire assessing at least duration and/or frequency of physical activity, sedentary behavior and/or sleep in 0- to 5-year-old children. The COnsensus-based Standards for the selection of health Measurement INstruments (COSMIN) guideline was used to evaluate the quality of evidence.

Results: Thirty-three studies were included, examining a total of 37 questionnaires. Ten questionnaires were designed for infants, two for toddlers, 11 for preschoolers, and 14 for a broader age range targeting multiple of these age groups. Twenty questionnaires assessed constructs of sleep, four assessed constructs of physical activity, two assessed screen behavior, five assessed constructs of both physical activity and sedentary behavior, and six assessed constructs of all 24-h movement behaviors. Content validity was evaluated for six questionnaires, structural validity for two, internal consistency for three, test-retest reliability for 16, measurement error for one, criterion validity for one, and construct validity for 26 questionnaires. None of the questionnaires were considered sufficiently valid and/or reliable for assessing one or more movement behaviors in 0- to 5-year-old children, and the quality of evidence was mostly low or very low.

Conclusions: Valid and/or reliable questionnaires assessing 24-h movement behaviors in 0- to 5-year-olds are lacking. High-quality studies are therefore required, to develop proxy-report questionnaires and evaluate their measurement properties.

Prospero registration number: CRD42020169268.

Keywords: 24-h movement behaviors; Infants; Measurement properties; Parent-report; Preschoolers; Questionnaires; Reliability; Toddlers; Validity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Exercise*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Sleep
  • Surveys and Questionnaires