Note: The Paffenbarger Physical Activity Questionnaire was designed primarily to identify leisure-time physical activities associated with hypertensive cardiovascular disease in college alumni. To supplement the material included here, the reader should refer to a previous article by Paffenbarger and colleagues (9). A sample questionnaire to assess physical activity, physiological fitness, diet, and health was presented by these authors (9). Part “C” of the questionnaire includes the questions on physical activity that are described herein.
Administering or completing the Paffenbarger questionnaire is self-explanatory. The individual is asked explicitly about walking and stair climbing, which are modes of “getting about” required of almost everyone. In addition, information on recreation and sports play is requested through open-ended questions concerning frequency of times played annually and years of participation together with duration of play/episode.
The kilocalorie scores for city blocks walked and flights of stairs climbed were defined by Paffenbarger and colleagues in 1978(11). The original source of the kilocalorie scores used for sports play and recreation is Passmore and Durnin(13).
These hypothetical data are used to demonstrate the kilocalorie scoring method.
How many flights of stairs do you usually climb up each day (let 1 flight = 10 steps)?
How many city blocks or their equivalent do you regularly walk each day(let 12 blocks = 1 mile)?
List any sports or recreational activity you have participated in during the past week. Please include only the time you were physically active (i.e., actual playing time in jogging, bicycling, swimming, brisk walking, gardening, carpentry, calisthenics, etc.).
In addition to the references cited, other studies have used the Paffenbarger Questionnaire(2,4,5,8,10,12).
1. Ainsworth, B. E., A. S. Leon, M. T. Richardson, D. R. Jacobs, Jr., and R. S. Paffenbarger. Accuracy of the College Alumnus Physical Activity Questionnaire. J. Clin. Epidemiol.
2. Ainsworth, B. E., C. B. Berry, V. N. Schnyder, and S. R. Vickers. Leisure-time physical activity and aerobic fitness in African-American young adults. J. Adolescent Health
3. Albanes, D., J. M. Conway, P. R. Taylor, P. W. Moe, and J. Judd. Validation and comparison of eight physical activity questionnaires.Epidemiology
4. Eaton, C. B., J. Reynes, A. R. Assaf, H. Feldman, T. Lasater, and R. A. Carleton. Predicting physical activity changes in men and women in two New England communities. Am. J. Prev. Med.
5. Eaton, C. B., A. N. Nafziger, D. S. Strogatz, and T. A. Pearson. Self-reported physical activity in a rural county: a New York County Health Census. Am. J. Public Health
6. Jacobs, D. R. Jr., B. E. Ainsworth, T. J. Hartman, and A. S. Leon. A simultaneous evaluation of 10 commonly used physical activity questionnaires. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc.
7. LaPorte, R. E., R. Black-Sandler, J. A. Cauley, M. Link, C. Bayles, and B. Marks. The assessment of physical activity in older women: analysis of the interrelationship and reliability of activity monitoring, activity surveys, and caloric intake. J. Gerontol.
8. Lee, I-M, R. S. Paffenbarger, Jr., and C. C. Hsieh. Time trends in physical activity among college alumni, 1962-1988. Am. J. Epidemiol.
9. Paffenbarger, R. S., Jr., S. N. Blair, I-Min Lee, and R. T. Hyde. Measurement of physical activity to assess health effects in free-living populations. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc.
10. Paffenbarger, R. S., R. T. Hyde, A. L. Wing, I. M. Lee, D. L. Jung, and J. B. Kampert. The association of changes in physical activity and other lifestyle characteristics with mortality among men. N. Engl. J. Med.
11. Paffenbarger, R. S., A. L. Wing, and R. T. Hyde. Physical activity as an index of heart attack risk in college alumni.Am. J. Epidemiol.
12. Paffenbarger, R. S., A. L. Wing, R. T. Hyde, and D. L. Jung. Physical activity and incidence of hypertension in College Alumni.Am. J. Epidemiol.
13. Passmore, R. and J. V. G. A. Durnin. Human energy expenditure. Physiol. Rev.
14. Rauh, M. J. D., M. F. Hovell, C. R. Hofstetter, J. F. Sallis, and A. Gleghorn. Reliability and validity of self-reported physical activity in Lations. Int. J. Epidemiol.
15. Siconolfi, S. F., T. M. Lasater, R. C. K. Snow, and R. A. Carleton. Self-reported physical activity compared with maximal oxygen uptake. Am. J. Epidemiol.
16. Washburn, R. A., L. L. Adams, and G. T. Haile. Physical activity assessment for epidemiological research: the utility of two simplified approaches. Prev. Med.
17. Washburn, R. A., K. W. Smith, S. R. Goldfield, and J. R. McKinlay. Reliability and physiologic correlates of the Harvard Alumni Activity Survey in a general population. J. Clin. Epidemiol.
SECTION I. PHYSICAL ACTIVITY QUESTIONNAIRES USED IN THE GENERAL POPULATION