Public Health Nutrition

Research Article

Criterion-related validity of the last 7-day, short form of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire in Swedish adults

Ulf Ekelunda1a2 c1, Hanna Seppa3, Sören Bragea1, Wulf Beckera3, Rupert Jakesa1, Mark Henningsa4 and Nicholas J Warehama1

a1 Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit, Elsie Widdowson Laboratory, Fulbourn Road, Cambridge, CB1 9NL, UK

a2 Department of Physical Education and Health, Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden

a3 National Food Administration, Uppsala, Sweden

a4 Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, UK


Objective To examine the validity of the short, last 7-day, self-administered form of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ).

Design All subjects wore an accelerometer for seven consecutive days and completed the IPAQ questionnaire on the eighth day. Criterion validity was assessed by linear regression analysis and by modified Bland–Altman analysis. Specificity and sensitivity were calculated for classifying respondents according to the physical activity guidelines of the American College of Sports Medicine/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Setting Workplaces in Uppsala, Sweden.

Subjects One hundred and eighty-five (87 males) participants, aged 20 to 69 years.

Results Total self-reported physical activity (PA) (MET-min day−1) was significantly correlated with average intensity of activity (counts min−1) from accelerometry (r=0.34, P<0.001). Gender, age, education and body mass index did not affect this relationship. Further, subcomponents of self-reported PA (time spent sitting, time in PA, time in moderate and vigorous activity (MVPA)) were significantly correlated with objectively measured PA (P<0.05). Self-reported time in PA was significantly different from time measured by accelerometry (mean difference: −25.9 min day−1; 95% limits of agreement: −172 to 120 min day−1; P<0.001). IPAQ identified 77% (specificity) of those who met the current PA guidelines of accumulating more than 30 min day−1 in MVPA as determined by accelerometry, whereas only 45% (sensitivity) of those not meeting the guidelines were classified correctly.

Conclusions Our results indicate that the short, last 7-days version of the IPAQ has acceptable criterion validity for use in Swedish adults. However, the IPAQ instrument significantly overestimated self-reported time spent in PA. The specificity to correctly classify people achieving current PA guidelines was acceptable, whereas the sensitivity was low.

(Received January 27 2005)

(Accepted June 15 2005)


c1 *Corresponding author: Email