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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Evaluation of reliability and validity of the General Practice Physical Activity Questionnaire (GPPAQ) in 60-74 year old primary care patients
Author(s): Ahmad, Shaleen
Harris, Tess
Limb, Elizabeth S
Kerry, Sally M
Victor, Christina R
Ekelund, Ulf
Iliffe, Steve
Whincup, Peter H
Beighton, Carole
Ussher, Michael
Cook, Derek G
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Keywords: Health promotion
public health
primary health care
physical activity
Issue Date: 2-Sep-2015
Date Deposited: 22-Mar-2018
Citation: Ahmad S, Harris T, Limb ES, Kerry SM, Victor CR, Ekelund U, Iliffe S, Whincup PH, Beighton C, Ussher M & Cook DG (2015) Evaluation of reliability and validity of the General Practice Physical Activity Questionnaire (GPPAQ) in 60-74 year old primary care patients. BMC Family Practice, 16, Art. No.: 113.
Abstract: Background: GPPAQ (General Practice Physical Activity Questionnaire) is a self-assessment physical activity questionnaire widely used in primary care. Reliability and validity data in older people are lacking.  The study aims were: to assess GPPAQ's reliability and validity in 60-74 year olds from the PACE-Lift (Pedometer Accelerometer Consultation Evaluation-Lift) physical activity trial; and to assess whether adding brisk walking to the GPPAQ score improves its validity when assessing if physical activity guidelines are being met.  Method: Physical activity was assessed objectively by accelerometry and by self-report GPPAQ over one week periods at baseline, and three and twelve months later, in 60-74 year old participants from three United Kingdom general practices enrolled in PACE-Lift. Reliability: GPPAQ scores in controls (n∈=∈148) were compared for repeatability at baseline, 3 and 12 months. Validity: we compared the GPPAQ "active" rating (those not requiring physical activity advice) with those achieving physical activity guidelines using accelerometry, in all baseline subjects (n∈=∈298). Using accelerometry as an objective comparator, GPPAQ sensitivity and specificity were calculated and repeated after adding brisk walking into the GPPAQ score (GPPAQ-WALK).  Results: For reliability, GPPAQ showed 56 % (70/126) and 67 % (87/129) of controls scored the same at 3 and 12 months respectively, as they scored at baseline. At baseline 24 % (69/289) achieved physical activity guidelines according to accelerometry, whilst 16 % (47/289) were classified as GPPAQ "active". GPPAQ had 19 % (13/69) sensitivity and 85 % (186/220) specificity. GPPAQ-WALK had 39 % (27/69) sensitivity and 70 % (155/220) specificity.  Conclusions: GPPAQ has reasonable reliability but results from this study measuring validity in older adults indicates poor agreement with objective accelerometry for accurately identifying physical activity levels. Including brisk walking in GPPAQ increased sensitivity, but reduced specificity and did not improve overall screening performance. GPPAQ's use in National Health Service health checks in primary care in this age group cannot therefore be supported by this validity study comparing to accelerometry. 
DOI Link: 10.1186/s12875-015-0324-8
Rights: © Ahmad et al. 2015 This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
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