Calibration of context-specific survey items to assess youth physical activity behaviour

Pedro F. Saint-Maurice, Gregory J. Welk, R. Todd Bartee, Kate Heelan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


This study tests calibration models to re-scale context-specific physical activity (PA) items to accelerometer-derived PA. A total of 195 4th–12th grades children wore an Actigraph monitor and completed the Physical Activity Questionnaire (PAQ) one week later. The relative time spent in moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA%) obtained from the Actigraph at recess, PE, lunch, after-school, evening and weekend was matched with a respective item score obtained from the PAQ’s. Item scores from 145 participants were calibrated against objective MVPA% using multiple linear regression with age, and sex as additional predictors. Predicted minutes of MVPA for school, out-of-school and total week were tested in the remaining sample (n = 50) using equivalence testing. The results showed that PAQ β-weights ranged from 0.06 (lunch) to 4.94 (PE) MVPA% (P < 0.05) and models root mean square error ranged from 4.2% (evening) to 20.2% (recess). When applied to an independent sample, differences between PAQ and accelerometer MVPA at school and out-of-school ranged from −15.6 to +3.8 min and the PAQ was within 10–15% of accelerometer measured activity. This study demonstrated that context-specific items can be calibrated to predict minutes of MVPA in groups of youth during in- and out-of-school periods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)866-872
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 3 2017


  • MVPA
  • home
  • measurement
  • school
  • youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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