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PLoS One. 2017 May 26;12(5):e0177996. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0177996. eCollection 2017.

Validity and responsiveness of the Global Physical Activity Questionnaire (GPAQ) in assessing physical activity during pregnancy.

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Centre for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, School of Therapeutic Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.
MRC/Wits Developmental Pathways for Health Research Unit, Department of Paediatrics, School of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.
Institute of Sports Science, University of Graz, Graz, Austria.
Department of Public and Occupational Health, EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Centre, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.


The physiological and biomechanical changes that occur during pregnancy make accurate measurement of physical activity (PA) a challenge during this unique period. The Global Physical Activity Questionnaire (GPAQ) has been used extensively in low-to-middle income countries, but has never been validated in a pregnant population. In this longitudinal study, 95 pregnant women (mean age: 29.5±5.7 years; BMI: 26.9±5.0 kg/m2) completed the GPAQ and were asked to wear an accelerometer for 7 days at two time points during pregnancy (14-18 and 29-33 weeks gestation). There was a significant difference between accelerometry and GPAQ when measuring moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) at 29-33 weeks gestation (16.6 vs 21.4 min/day; p = 0.02) as well as sedentary behaviour (SB) at both 14-18 weeks (457.0 vs 300 min/day; p < 0.01) and 29-33 weeks gestation (431.5 vs 300 min/day; p < 0.01). There was poor agreement between the GPAQ and accelerometry for both PA and SB at both time points (ICC: -0.05-0.08). Bland Altman plots indicated that the GPAQ overestimates PA by 14.8 min/day at 14-18 weeks and by 15.8 min/day at 29-33 weeks gestation. It underestimates SB by 127.5 min/day at 14-18 weeks and by 89.2 min/day at 29-33 weeks gestation. When compared to accelerometry, the GPAQ shows poor agreement and appears to overestimate PA and underestimate SB during pregnancy.

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