Background: The reproducibility and validity of self-administered questionnaires on physical activity and inactivity were examined in a random (representative) sample of the Nurses' Health Study II cohort and a random sample of African-American women in that cohort.
Methods: Repeat questionnaires were administered 2 years apart. Past-week activity recalls and 7-day activity diaries were the referent methods; these instruments were sent to participants four times over a 1-year period.
Results: The 2-year test-retest correlation for activity was 0.59 for the representative sample (n = 147) and 0.39 for the African-American sample (n = 84). Correlations between activity reported on recalls and that reported on questionnaire were 0.79 and 0.83 for the representative and African-American samples, respectively. Correlations between activity reported in diaries and that reported on questionnaire were 0.62 and 0.59, respectively. Test-retest coefficients for inactivity were 0.52 and 0.55, respectively. Correlations between inactivity reported in diaries and that reported on questionnaire were 0.41 and 0.44, respectively.
Conclusion: The simple, short questionnaires on activity and inactivity used in the Nurses' Health Study II are reasonably valid measures for epidemiological research.