Comparison of the IPAQ-A and Actigraph in relation to VO2max among European adolescents: The HELENA study

Charlene Ottevaere, Inge Huybrechts, Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij, Michael Sjöström, Jonatan R. Ruiz, Francisco B. Ortega, Maria Hagströmer, Kurt Widhalm, Dénes Molnár, Luis A. Moreno, Laurent Beghin, Anthony Kafatos, Angela Polito, Yannis Manios, David Mártinez-Gómez, Stefaan De Henauw

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The purpose was to compare data obtained from a modified, long, self-administered version of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ-A) with objective data obtained in parallel from Actigraph accelerometers, and VO2max in adolescents. The study comprised a total of 2018 adolescents (46% male) from ten European cities participating in the HELENA (Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence) study. Physical activity was assessed over seven consecutive days by accelerometry and expressed as min/day of moderate, vigorous, and moderate to vigorous (MVPA) physical activity (PA). PA was also assessed with the IPAQ-A. VO2max was estimated from a 20-m shuttle run test. Poor to fair correlations between the two methodologies were found for the whole study sample and when stratified by age and gender (rs=0.08-0.26, p<0.01). On average, the self-reported time spent in moderate PA was higher compared to the time measured with the accelerometer, while the differences between both instruments were less clear for vigorous intensity. Adolescents reporting high levels of PA (3rd tertile IPAQ-A) also showed higher levels of PA (accelerometers) in all the study variables (moderate, vigorous and MVPA), compared to adolescents reporting low PA (1st tertile IPAQ-A) (all p<0.001). Both methods were moderately correlated with estimated VO2max. Within the HELENA-study, the IPAQ-A showed the modest comparability with the accelerometer data for assessing PA in each intensity level and was the highest for vigorous intensity. Both instruments are able to detect the adolescents with the highest cardio respiratory fitness, which are the most active adolescents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-324
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Science and Medicine in Sport
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011



  • Measurement
  • Motor activity
  • Physical activity and exercise methodology
  • Physical activity measurement
  • Youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

Cite this

Ottevaere, C., Huybrechts, I., De Bourdeaudhuij, I., Sjöström, M., Ruiz, J. R., Ortega, F. B., Hagströmer, M., Widhalm, K., Molnár, D., Moreno, L. A., Beghin, L., Kafatos, A., Polito, A., Manios, Y., Mártinez-Gómez, D., & De Henauw, S. (2011). Comparison of the IPAQ-A and Actigraph in relation to VO2max among European adolescents: The HELENA study. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 14(4), 317-324.