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J Hum Nutr Diet. 2011 Feb;24(1):96-100. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-277X.2010.01126.x. Epub 2010 Sep 30.

A lifestyle assessment and intervention tool for pediatric weight management: the HABITS questionnaire.

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Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY, USA.



Lifestyle assessment and intervention tools are useful in promoting pediatric weight management. The present study aimed to establish convergent validity and reliability for a quick simple measure of food intake and physical activity/sedentary behaviour. The HABITS questionnaire can be used to identify and monitor behavioural intervention targets.


Thirty-five youths (ages 7-16 years) were recruited from the waiting area of the Jacobi Medical Center Child and Teen Health Services. To establish convergent validity for the HABITS questionnaire, study participants completed the HABITS questionnaire, a 24-h recall and a modified version of the Modifiable Activity Questionnaire for Adolescents (MAQ). Participants completed a second HABITS questionnaire within 1 month to assess test-retest reliability. Internal consistency for dietary and physical activity/sedentary behaviour subscales was assessed using Cronbach's alpha, and test-retest reliability was assessed using Cohen's Kappa coefficient. Spearman's rank correlation coefficients were calculated for individual items using the 24-h recall and the MAQ as reference standards.


The HABITS questionnaire subscales showed moderate internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha of 0.61 and 0.59 for the dietary and physical activity/sedentary behaviour subscale, respectively). The test-retest reliability was 0.94 for the dietary subscale and 0.87 for the physical activity/sedentary behaviour subscale. Several items on the HABITS questionnaire were moderately correlated with information reported in the MAQ and the 24-h recall (r = 0.38-0.59, P < 0.05).


The HABITS questionnaire can reliably be used in a paediatric setting to quickly assess key dietary and physical activity/sedentary behaviours and to promote behaviour change for weight management.

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