Research Study Abstract

Validation of the Global Physical Activity Questionnaire for self-administration in a European context

  • Published on May 8, 2017

Background/Aim: Little is known about the measurement properties of the self-administered Global Physical Activity Questionnaire (GPAQ) in Europe. The aim was to validate the self-administered GPAQ against accelerometry in Switzerland in German, French and Italian.

Methods: Participants of this cross-sectional study were recruited among members of the Swiss Food Panel (German-speaking and French-speaking samples) and as a convenience sample (Italian-speaking sample). They completed the GPAQ and wore an Actigraph GT3X+ accelerometer during 7 days in 2014/2015. GPAQ and accelerometer data on total physical activity and different intensities, as well as sitting time, were compared using Spearman correlations and Bland-Altman plots.

Results: Complete data were available for 354 participants (50.6% women, mean age: 47.0 years) on physical activity, and for 366 on sitting time. Correlations were highest for vigorous physical activity (r=0.46) and sitting time (r=0.47). A significant sex difference was apparent for vigorous physical activity (men: r=0.35 vs women: r=0.55; p=0.02). Some age differences were present especially for total physical activity, with the lowest correlations found for those aged 60+ years. The correlation for sitting time was significantly higher in the youngest age group (r=0.61) compared with the middle (r=0.38, p=0.01) and the oldest age groups (r=0.37, p=0.03). Total physical activity was 2.8 times higher according to the GPAQ than to accelerometer data.

Conclusions: The self-administered version of the GPAQ showed fair-to-moderate validity in the three languages tested, both for men and women and individuals aged ≤60 years. For older individuals, a careful interpretation of total physical activity is required.


  • Miriam Wanner 1,2
  • Christina Hartmann 3
  • Giulia Pestoni 2,4
  • Brian Winfried Martin 2,5
  • Michael Siegrist 3
  • Eva Martin-Diener 2


  • 1

    Cancer Registry Zurich and Zug, University Hospital Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

  • 2

    Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

  • 3

    Department of Health Sciences and Technology, Institute for Environmental Decisions, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

  • 4

    Department of Health Sciences and Technology, Institute of Human Movement Sciences, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

  • 5

    Department of Health, Canton Basel-Landschaft, Liestal, Switzerland


BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine


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