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A Collection of Physical Activity Questionnaires for Health-Related Research

Modifiable Activity Questionnaire

Medicine& Science in Sports & Exercise: June 1997 - Volume 29 - Issue 6 - p 73-78
  • Free
  • Activity component(s) assessed: Leisure and occupational
  • Time frame of recall: Past year (and past week)
  • Original mode of administration: Interviewer-administered
  • Primary source of information: Dr. Andrea M. Kriska; Department of Epidemiology; University of Pittsburgh; Pittsburgh, PA 15261
  • Primary references:
  • Kriska, A. M. and P. H. Bennett. An epidemiological perspective of the relationship between physical activity and NIDDM: from activity assessment to intervention. Diabetes Metab. Rev. 8:355-372, 1992.
  • Kriska, A. M., W. C. Knowler, R. E. LaPorte, et al. Development of questionnaire to examine relationship of physical activity and diabetes in Pima Indians. Diabetes Care 13:401-411, 1990.

Note: The Modifiable Activity Questionnaire (MAQ, formerly the Pima Indian Physical Activity Questionnaire) was designed for easy modification to maximize the ability to assess physical activity in a variety of populations. This questionnaire assesses current (past-year and past-week) occupational and leisure activities, as well as extreme levels of inactivity due to disability(2,3). The original version of this questionnaire(3) also assessed historical activity (over a lifetime), which was used for retrospective studies of diabetes and osteoporosis(4,5). The Historical Leisure Activity Questionnaire is presented elsewhere in this collection.

RELIABILITY AND VALIDITY STUDIES

Tables 30,31

Modifiable Activity Questionnaire

Table

Reprinted in modified form with permission of the publisher from Kriska, A. M., W. C. Knowler, R. E. LaPorte, et al. Development of questionnaire to examine relationship of physical activity and diabetes in Pima Indians. Diabetes Care 13:401-411, 1990. Copyright 1990 Diabetes Care.

INSTRUCTIONS

Leisure Activity

Through pilot testing in the target population, a list of popular activities is developed and forms the basis of the leisure activity section of the questionnaire. The interviewer first reads through the list of activities provided and identifies all leisure activities that the participant performed on at least 10 different occasions over the past year (as the interviewer circles all positive responses). After the list has been read and all of the positive responses have been circled, the interviewer writes down each activity that was circled in the “Activity” column provided. Estimates of frequency and duration are then obtained for each of these activities. Specifically, for each activity, the months that the activity was performed over the past year (past 12 mo) is checked, and then the average # of Times Per Month and the Average # of Minutes Each Time is entered in the appropriate columns.

Note: Walking or biking in the leisure activity section does not include walking or biking to and from work, which is captured in the occupational activity section.

Inactivity

The general section of the MAQ also assesses inactivity, such as the average number of h/d usually spent watching television, or whether the individual was confined to a bed or chair for more than 1 wk over the past year as a result of an illness, injury, or surgery.

Occupational Activity

The occupational section of the MAQ is used to determine, for each job held over the past year, the number of hours that the individual participated in physically demanding activities during an average work day. The individual is first asked to identify all jobs held during the past year for more than 1 mo(including “occupations” such as homemaker, or being disabled, retired, or unemployed). The interviewer then writes all of these jobs in the“Job Name” column and enters the number of months over the past year that the participant performed each job in the “Mos/Yr” column. All 12 mo of the past year should be accounted for. Note that“occupations,” such as homemaker, retired, unemployed, or being disabled, are only listed during months when no other job is identified.

Next to each job name, the interviewer enters the “Job Code” that best describes the job. For each job entry, the participant answers questions about usual transportation to and from the job, as well as the average job schedule. If the usual form of transportation to and/or from work was either biking (pedal) or walking, the total amount of time in minutes spent walking or biking to work each day is entered in the“Min/Day” column. The participant is also asked about the average schedule for that job, including the average number of “Days/Wk” and “Hrs/Day” that he/she works at that specific job.

Finally, the individual is asked to specify the usual number of hr/d spentsitting at work (out of the total number of “Hrs/Day” the individual reported working). The interviewer enters this number in the“Hrs Sitting” column and then asks the participant to describe the job activities that he/she does when not sitting. The interviewer places a check in the most appropriate activity category (“A,”“B,” or “C”), based upon the job description given by the participant. The “A” category includes job activities involving standing still, occasional short distance walking, and sitting activities; Category “B” includes job activities that require an effort similar to that of continuous walking, while the “C” category includes all those activities with energy demands approaching those of heavy lifting, digging, or running. The lists of activities in each column may need to be slightly modified to include typical job activities for the population in question.

Note: If the individual reported being a homemaker, retired, unemployed, or being disabled, during all or part of the past year, the interviewer should elicit typical “job” or household-related activities of a normal 40-hour-per-wk (5-d wk, 8-h d). In other words, “Day/Wk” is automatically “5” and “Hrs/Day” is “8.” Also, since it makes no sense in this situation to ask a subject if he/she walks or bikes to “work,” a “0” should be entered for this question.

CALCULATIONS

Leisure Activity

Hours per week averaged over the past year:Equation

Hours per week for all activities are summed to determine total leisure hours per week averaged over the past year. These values can also be weighted by their estimated metabolic cost and expressed as MET-hours per week by multiplying hours per week for each specific activity by the estimated MET value of that activity.

Note: Since reported leisure walking for exercise has been found to be unreliably reported in many populations (3,5), it is recommended that the data are analyzed both with and without inclusion of this activity.

Occupational Activity

  1. Hours per week of moderate activity averaged over the past year(calculate only for job entries in which column “B” is checked):Equation
  2. [where h/day of moderate activity = (average h/day at job-hours sitting)+(min/day walking or bicycling to work÷60)]
  3. Hours per week of hard activity averaged over the past year(calculate only for job entries in which column “C” is checked):Equation
  4. The summation of hours per week of moderate and hard activity will provide an estimate of the average hours per week above light activity during the past year.
  5. To weight by its estimated metabolic cost and express as MET-hours per week, the moderate and hard activity categories are multiplied by their estimated average group MET values of 4 and 7 METs, respectively, prior to summing.

Total Activity

Total physical activity averaged over the past year can be determined as the sum of past-year leisure hours per week and past-year occupational(moderate + hard) hours per week. Similarly, leisure and occupational MET-hours per week can be summed as well.

EXAMPLE

Leisure Activity

Table 32

  • Swimming: (5 mo) × (24 times/mo) × (30 min/time) ÷ 60 min/h ÷ 52 wk/yr = 1.2 h/wk
  • Wood chopping: (6 mo) × (8 times/mo) × (20 min/time) ÷ 60 min/h ÷ 52 wk/yr = 0.3 h/wk
  • Bicycling: (7 mo) × (20 times/mo) × (45 min/time) ÷ 60 min/h ÷52 wk/yr = 2.0 h/wk
  • Gardening: (6 mo) × (8 times/mo) × (60 min/time) ÷ 60 min/h ÷ 52 wk/yr = 0.9 h/wk
  • Past-year leisure activity = 1.2 + 0.3 + 2.0 + 0.9 = 4.4 h/wk averaged over the past year

Conversion to MET-h/wk:

  • Swimming: 1.2 h/wk × 7.0 METs = 8.4 MET-h/wk
  • Wood chopping: 0.3 h/wk × 5.0 METs = 1.5 MET-h/wk
  • Bicycling: 2.0 h/wk × 4.0 METs = 8.0 MET-h/wk
  • Gardening: 0.9 h/wk × 3.5 METs = 3.2 MET-h/wk
  • Past-year leisure activity = 8.4 + 1.5 + 8.0 + 3.2 = 21.1 MET-h/wk averaged over the past year

Occupational Activity

Table 33

  • Cab driver: No credit for category A
  • Groundskeeper: Equation
  • Construction worker: Equation

Conversion to MET-hours per week: Equation

Total Activity

Based on the above hypothetical data, total physical activity averaged over the past year in hours per week would be: Equation

Total physical activity averaged over the past year in MET-hours per week would be: Equation

OTHER STUDIES USING THE QUESTIONNAIRE

In addition to the references cited above, other studies have used the MAQ questionnaire (1,6,7).

REFERENCES

1. Fontvielle, A. M., A. Kriska, and E. Ravussin. Decreased physical activity in Pima Indian compared with Caucasian children. Int. J. Obes. 17:445-452, 1993.
2. Kriska, A. M. and P. H. Bennett. An epidemiological perspective of the relationship between physical activity and NIDDM: from activity assessment to intervention. Diabetes Metab. Rev. 8:355-372, 1992.
3. Kriska, A. M., W. C. Knowler, R. E. LaPorte. et al. Development of questionnaire to examine relationship of physical activity and diabetes in Pima Indians. Diabetes Care 13:401-411, 1990.
4. Kriska, A. M., R. E. LaPorte, D. J. Pettitt, et al. The association of physical activity with obesity, fat distribution and glucose intolerance in Pima Indians. Diabetologia 36:863-869, 1993.
5. Kriska, A. M., R. B. Sandler, J. A. Cauley, R. E. LaPorte, D. L. Hom, and G. Pambianco. The assessment of physical activity and its relation to adult bone parameters. Am. J. Epidemiol. 127:1053-1063, 1988.
6. Lee, E. T., T. K. Welty, R. Fabsitz, et al. The Strong Heart Study: a study of cardiovascular disease in American Indians-design and methods. Am. J. Epidemiol. 132:1141-1155, 1990.
7. Pereira, M. A., A. M. Kriska, M. L. Joswiak, et al. Physical inactivity and glucose intolerance in the multi-ethnic island of Mauritius. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 27:1626-1634, 1995.
8. Schulz, L. O., I. T. Harper, C. J. Smith, A. M. Kriska, and E. Ravussin. Energy intake and physical activity in Pima Indians: comparison with energy expenditure measured by doubly-labeled water.Obesity Res. 2:541-548, 1994.

Section Description

SECTION I. PHYSICAL ACTIVITY QUESTIONNAIRES USED IN THE GENERAL POPULATION

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