Indexed on: 24 Jun '09Published on: 24 Jun '09Published in: Gaceta Sanitaria
To characterize the distinct questionnaires and scales used to measure physical activity, their conceptual frameworks, psychometric properties and application norms.The review included original articles that used questionnaires or scales to assess physical activity in older adults or the elderly. The CINAHL and MEDLINE databases were consulted for the years 1993 to 2007. The studies selected had to provide information on the use, development and psychometric properties of the instruments. Instruments used in the population aged more than 45 years old were included. Articles that assessed physical activity by direct estimation, complex methods, or physical performance were excluded.The search produced 166 references and 36 instruments were identified. Most of the studies quantified physical activity, and a minority assessed self-efficacy in physical activity performance and the stage of change. Half of the instruments were self-administered. The most frequently studied reliability was test-retest. Criterion validity was studied in 14 instruments, and 11 of these used at least two alternative methods of measurement. Construct validity was assessed in 26 instruments. Responsiveness was evaluated in only three instruments (YPAS, CHAMPS and Exercise Stage of Change) in addition to reliability and validity.The Exercise Stage of Change questionnaire showed responsiveness and sufficient reliability to allow individual use. The 7Day PAR questionnaire and the Modified Baecke Questionnaire (Spanish version), which evaluate physical activity, can be used on an individual basis, although their responsiveness has not been studied. In general, the instruments analyzed do not assess mild intensity activities.