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Table 3 Feedback from the expert group evaluation and ranking exercise (✔ indicates that instrument was ranked in top 5 by an expert). Only instruments with at least one expect proving support (✔) are included.

From: An assessment of self-reported physical activity instruments in young people for population surveillance: Project ALPHA

Instrument Top 5? Reasons Additional comments (e.g. personal experience, groups to use with)
Adolescent Physical Activity Recall Questionnaire
Indirect validity only; moderate reliability.
Would require more reliability and validity testing before generalizing to other ages.
Instrument looks difficult for older children to understand and coding looks difficult to interpret.
Limited age range 13 & 15 y tested.
Easy to administer.
Physical Activity Questionnaire for Older Children (PAQ-C)
Physical Activity Questionnaire for Adolescents (PAQ-A)
✔✔✔ Consistent high validity against a variety of direct measures including doubly labelled water; only moderate reliability.
Feasible, but may be time consuming.
1st choice given European data.
Simple to complete, well used, and time efficient.
Pair of instruments tested on widest age range (8-20 y).
Continuous measure of pa (MVPA > 10 min).
Reasonable recall 7d.
Feasible -9 items 20 minutes SR.
Limitation-designed for use during school year not too serious & appropriate for classroom administration.
Data in last year, although not European.
5-point scale floor and ceiling effects.
Youth Risk Behaviour Surveillance Survey (YRBS) ✔✔✔ Strong validity and moderate reliability.
Track record for population monitoring.
Simple, reasonable validity and reliability and been widely used.
Excellent method.
Multiple assessments of measurement properties.
Used in large scale population monitoring.
Tested for large age range (10-21).
Inclusion of sedentary questions is a bonus.
5 items should make time to self administer not burdensome.
Doesn't require recall of minutes so less variability in estimates.
Not adaptable if criterion of 60 minutes of activity changes in future.
Health Behaviour in School Aged Children (HBSC) Strong validity and strong reliability.
Feasible and widely used.
No information about validity in relation to an objective measure of activity - fitness only.
Used in large scale population monitoring in Europe and elsewhere.
Tested for large age range of teenagers (11-16).
Inclusion of sedentary questions is a bonus.
2 items should make self administration time short.
Not adaptable if criterion of 60 minutes of activity changes in future.
Children's Leisure Activities Study Survey (CLASS) Moderate validity weak reliability.
No information about validity in relation to an objective measure. (Parental report unlikely to be better than kids report so not clear why criterion).
Requires more resources as is interviewer administered.
Low reliability puts it in the lowest category.
Easy to understand.
Teen Health Survey ✔✔✔✔ Reasonable validity and moderate reliability. reliability is over a 9 week period, which is much longer than typical and may have reduced test-retest correlations compared to those with a shorter recall period.
Produces MVPA.
Narrow age range means that validity work needs to be conducted for younger ages.
Good brief surveillance measure that is an adaptation of the YRBS survey. Use for younger children to be questioned.
Recall period of last 7 days self report.
Short and self report makes it feasible.
School Health Action, Planning and Evaluation System (SHAPES) Physical Activity Questionnaire ✔✔ Strong validity and acceptable reliability.
Good reliability and validity but too long for surveillance work.
The questionnaire is still well received by schools.
Applicable to children about 10 year and older in school setting.
Drawback is its use in only one country.
Finnish Twin Cohort Study Rating reflects the very narrow age range associated with its use.
Good reliability and validity, relatively simple to complete. Could be used for longer surveillance measures. Items may be a little hard for younger children to understand.
Good method but only for adolescents and only for leisure-time pa and sport.
Excellent R and F, good V with no objective pa criterion
Single assessment.
Tests of properties limited to only teenagers 16 years and older.