Validity and reliability of two brief physical activity questionnaires among Spanish-speaking individuals of Mexican descent

Sonia Vega-Lopez, Adrian Chavez, Kristin J. Farr, Barbara Ainsworth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Background: Mexican Americans are the largest minority group in the US and suffer disproportionate rates of diseases related to the lack of physical activity (PA). Since many of these Mexican Americans are Spanish-speaking, it is important to validate a Spanish language physical activity assessment tool that can be used in epidemiology as well as clinical practice. This study explored the utility of two Spanish translated physical activity questionnaires, the Stanford Brief Activity Survey (SBAS) and the Rapid Assessment of Physical Activity (RAPA), for use among Spanish-speaking Mexican Americans. Methods. Thirty-four participants (13 M, 21 F; 37.6 ± 9.5 y) completed each of the two PA surveys twice, one week apart. During that week 31 participants also wore an ActiGraph GT1M accelerometer for 7 days to objectively measure PA. Minutes of moderate and vigorous PA (MVPA) were determined from the accelerometer data using Freedson and Matthews cut points. Results: Validity, determined by Spearman correlation coefficients between questionnaire scores and minutes of ActiGraph measured MVPA were 0.38 and 0.45 for the SBAS and RAPA, respectively. Test-retest reliability was 0.61 for the SBAS and 0.65 for the RAPA. Sensitivity and specificity were 0.60 and 0.47 for the SBAS, and 0.73 and 0.75 for the RAPA. Participants who were classified as meeting the 2008 National Physical Activity Guidelines by the RAPA engaged in significantly (p < 0.05) more minutes of MVPA than those who were not, while there were no significant differences in minutes of MVPA classified by the SBAS. Conclusions: The SBAS and the RAPA are both reasonably valid measures for quickly assessing PA and determining compliance to the PA guidelines in Spanish-speaking Mexican Americans. Although the two questionnaires had comparable reliability, the RAPA was better able to distinguish between those who met and did not meet National PA Guidelines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number29
JournalBMC Research Notes
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 13 2014


  • Physical activity assessment
  • Reliability
  • Spanish
  • Survey
  • Validity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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