Purpose: To determine
whether a global physical activity question (GPAq) administered in young
adulthood can be used to accurately rank former physical activity levels (PA)
relative to peers of the same age and sex during adolescence. Methods: Data
were obtained from the Physical Activity in Young Adults Study, a 10- year follow-up study of 12 - 16 year old adolescents. Five hundred twenty-eight young adults, mean age 24.5 (±1.0) years,
completed a GPAq regarding current and past (adolescent) PA. GPAq answers were
used to determine whether young adults could accurately rank their past
(adolescent) PA levels relative to peers of the same age and sex. GPAq
responses were compared with actual self-reported PA levels assessed by the
Modifiable Activity Questionnaire for Adolescents (MAQ-A; collected during adolescence). For adolescent PA, an average of 4 years of activity from the MAQ-A
1990-1993, was used. Results: Regardless of gender, Jonckheere-Terpstra tests
for trend (p < 0.0001) suggest significant linear trends across categories
of PA level for the MAQ-A. Higher perceived PA tracked with greater past PA
activity and lower perceived PA tracked with lower past PA activity.
Conclusions: Young adults who classified themselves as more active as an
adolescent were found to be relatively more active based upon self-reported
activity from recall questionnaires collected during that time. These findings
suggest that young adults can reasonably estimate relative PA levels during
their adolescent years with GPAq. Global physical activity questions may be valid
for the assessment and classification of previous PA levels.
Cite this paper
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