Youth/Adolescent Activity Questionnaire (YAAQ) Introduction
History of the development of the YAAQ:
       The eight question assessment of leisure time physical activity
used in the Nurses’ Health Study II (NHS II) was the origin for
developing the Youth/Adolescent Activity Questionnaire (YAAQ). The
leisure-time activities on the NHS II questionnaire were the most
common activities reported by female participants in the University of
Pennsylvania Alumni Health Study. The reproducibility and validity
of the NHS II activity survey was assessed among a sample of
women from the NHS II cohort. The activity survey was compared to
past-week activity recalls and 7-day activity diaries. Correlations
between activity reported on recalls and that reported on
questionnaire were 0.79 and 0.83 for the representative (n=147) and
African-American (n=84) samples, respectively. Correlations between
activity reported in diaries and that reported on questionnaire were
0.62 and 0.59, respectively. The results demonstrated that the brief
activity survey used in the Nurses' Health Study II produced
reasonably valid estimates of activity for epidemiological research.i

       We designed the YAAQ to have a similar format as the NHS II
questionnaire, but with activities that are more common among 9 to
18 year old children and adolescents. The YAAQ has 18 specific
activities ranging from walking to hockey/lacrosse, as well as 8
specific inactivities ranging from watching TV to hanging out with
friends. Several other questions about activity, such as participation
in team sports, are included on the YAAQ that is available to
researchers outside of the Channing Lab.

History of the evaluation of the YAAQ:
1) Study of the Reproducibility & Validity of the YAAQ conducted in
Danvers, Massachusetts (1995)
      This study assessed the reproducibility and validity of a self-
administered physical activity questionnaire for youth/adolescents.
The YAAQ was completed by 262 high school students on two
occasions one year apart to assess reproducibility. Validity was
assessed by comparing the YAAQ to a one-mile run performance for
1035 students. A one-mile walk run test assesses physical fitness
rather than hours of activity per se, thus it was expected that the
validity of the YAAQ as a measure of hours of activity would be
underestimated by comparing it to a one-mile run performance.
       This study showed a moderate reproducibility for the
questionnaires with correlations of 0.55 for girls and 0.61 for boys.
Validation of the hours/week of physical activity from the YAAQ to the
one-mile run time was 0.23 for girls and 0.24 for boys. When the
one-mile run was compared to the hours/week of activities related to
running, the correlations were 0.41 for girls and 0.48 for boys. ii

2) Validation Study in Cambridge, Massachusetts (1995)
       In Cambridge, Massachusetts the YAAQ was adapted to with
activities unique to the population. At the request of the school, Tai
Chai, martial arts, and band were added to the activity assessment,
therefore, to make room for new questions general play with friends &
indoor chores were not assessed,. In addition, the YAAQ was
modified to assess activity during the past month rather than the past
year to make the questionnaire more comparable to other activity
assessments, such as the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey
(YRBSS) activity questions. . This adapted YAAQ was used in a
study assessing the validity of the YRBSS questions on dietary
behaviors and physical activity among adolescents in grades 9-12
study among 1768 urban students.
The modified YAAQ was compared to activity data collected on three
24-hour recalls. The validity of the estimate of vigorous activity on the
YAAQ was assessed by comparing the sum of the self-reported
hours per week of basketball, football, running/jogging, lap swimming,
roller-skating /blading, soccer, lacrosse/field hockey/ice hockey, push
ups/sit ups/weight lifting, martial arts, and tennis/badminton reported
on the YAAQ to an estimate of vigorous activity from the recalls.
Detailed information on time spent in various activities with a MET
score of at least 6, collected via 24-hour recalls, was used to
determine the students’ true level of vigorous physical activity.
      In a sample of 114 urban high school students the Spearman
correlation between vigorous activity assessed with the modified
YAAQ and vigorous activity assessed by 24-hour recalls was 0.63,
indicating that the tool is suitable for ranking youth in terms of activity

3) Evaluation Study in Baltimore, Maryland (1997)
      The Eat Well and Keep Moving Program in Baltimore, Maryland
was a school-based program that was designed to evaluate and
improve dietary patterns and physical activity levels of grade 4 and 5
students. They used an adapted YAAQ, which included 16 activity
questions and asked about participation in the activities during the
past month OR did they ask about average number of hours per
month in each of the 16 activities???, and compared the information
to 24-hour recalls. The deattenuated correlation for hours of
strenuous activity (>=6.0 METs) per day was 0.42.iv

New Youth/Adolescent Activity Questionnaire
      Among children and adolescents, activity patterns are likely to
change from season to season. To address this variability, we
modified the YAAQ to assess activity patterns in each of the four
seasons. This modified version of the YAAQ is has been used it in
the Growing Up Today Study (GUTS) since 1997.
      Sheryl Rifas-Shiman compared the original YAAQ, which
assessed activity during the past year in a non-seasonal format and
was used in 1996 in GUTS, to the new seasonal YAAQ.v. The hours
per week of activity were slightly lower when using the seasonal
format (3.7(boys) and 3.1(girls) fewer hours per week), which may
reflect less overestimation of highly seasonal activities, such as
 Wolf AM, Hunter DJ, Colditz GA, Manson JE, Stampfer MJ, Corsano KA, Rosner B, Kriska A,
Willett WC. Reproducibility and validity of a self-administered physical activity questionnaire. Int J
Epidemiol. 1994 Oct; 23(5):991-9
  Tomeo, CT et al. Reproducibility and Validity of a Self-Administered Physical Activity Instrument
for Adolescents. Unpublished data
  Peterson K et al. Validation of the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) questions
on dietary intake and physical activity among adolescents in grades 9 through 12. Boston, MA:
Report from the Harvard School of Public Health to the Division of School and Adolescent Health
at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 1996.
 Gortmaker SL et al. Impact of a school-based interdisciplinary intervention on diet and physical
activity among urban primary school children: eat well and keep moving. Arch Ped Ad Med.
  Rifas-Shiman SL et al. Comparing physical activity questionnaires for youth: seasonal vs annual
format. Am J Prev Med: 2001:20(4)282-285