Cut-off values for classifying active children and adolescentes using the Physical Activity Questionnaire: PAQ-C and PAQ-ACut-off values for classifying active children and adolescents using the Physical Activity Questionnaire: PAQ-C and PAQ-A

Javier Benítez-Porres, José Ramón Alvero-Cruz, Luis B. Sardinha, Iván López-Fernández, Elvis A. Carnero


Introduction: The Physical Activity Questionnaire for children and adolescents (PAQ-C & PAQ-A) has been widely used in research and field settings. However, there is a lack of information about its final score meaning.

Objective: To determine PAQ-C and PAQ-A score cut-off values using physical activity (PA) thresholds objectively measured as reference criteria.

Methods:146 children (n = 83 boys, n = 63 girls) and 234 adolescents (n = 115 boys, n = 119 girls) participated in this study. Accelerometers (Actigraph GT3X) were used to assess objectively PA during one-week, afterwards PAQ was filled by the participants. As participants met or not the international PA recommendations for total, moderate-vigorous (MVPA) or light PA, three categorical variables of two levels were created. ROC
curves procedure were carried out to obtain score cut-off points for identifying the positive category recommendation.

Results: ROC curves analysis estimated 2.75 and 2.73 score cut-off points to discriminate > 60 minutes of MVPA for PAQ-A and PAQ-C respectively (PAQ-A AUC = 0.68, p < 0.001 and PAQ-C; AUC = 0.55, p > 0.05). Also 60 minutes of MVPA was achieved with a total volume of 10,664 steps/day in children and 9,701 steps/day in adolescents.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that PAQ-A can be a useful tool to classify adolescents as active or inactive following international recommendations as criteria. However, we could not find a significant cut-off for PAQ-C score.

Palabras clave

ROC curves. Adolescence. Childhood. Sensitivity. Specificity.

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