Background Validation of instruments used to measure physical activity patterns is essential when attempting to assess the effectiveness of physical activity interventions.
Objectives To assess the validity of two self-report physical activity questionnaires on a representative sample of New Zealand adults.
Methods 70 adults aged 18–65 years from around Christchurch, New Zealand were required to wear an ActiGraph GT1M accelerometer during all waking hours for 7 consecutive days. Immediately following the 7 day accelerometer period participants were required to complete the long forms of both the New Zealand Physical Activity Questionnaire (NZPAQ-LF) and the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ-LF).
Results Both the NZPAQ-LF and the IPAQ-LF questionnaires showed small to moderate correlations with ActiGraph data for time spent in moderate-intensity physical activity (r=0.19–0.30) and total physical activity (sum of moderate and vigorous-intensity physical activity, r=0.30–0.32). In comparison with the ActiGraph data, both self-report questionnaires tended to overestimate activity levels by approximately 165%. Total physical activity levels gathered from both questionnaires were strongly correlated with each other (r=0.79) and showed good levels of agreement in the Bland–Altman plots.
Conclusions The long forms of the NZPAQ and IPAQ were found to have acceptable validity when detecting participants' ability to meet activity guidelines based on exercise duration, but a significant amount of overestimation was evident. This presents a need for both instruments to be further developed and tested in order to increase validity.
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Competing interests None.