Open Access Research article

Daily physical activity in ankylosing spondylitis: validity and reliability of the IPAQ and SQUASH and the relation with clinical assessments

Suzanne Arends12*, Marianne Hofman13, Yvo PT Kamsma3, Eveline van der Veer4, Pieternella M Houtman2, Cees GM Kallenberg1, Anneke Spoorenberg12 and Elisabeth Brouwer1

Author Affiliations

1 Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, P.O. Box 30.001, 9700 RB Groningen, the Netherlands

2 Rheumatology, Medical Center Leeuwarden, P.O. Box 888, 8901 BR Leeuwarden, the Netherlands

3 Center for Human Movement Sciences, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, P.O. Box 30.001, 9700 RB Groningen, the Netherlands

4 Laboratory Medicine, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, P.O. Box 30.001, 9700 RB Groningen, the Netherlands

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2013, 15:R99  doi:10.1186/ar4279

Published: 23 August 2013

Abstract

Introduction

The aim of this study was to investigate the construct validity and test-retest reliability of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ; long form) and the Short QUestionnaire to Assess Health-enhancing physical activity (SQUASH) and to investigate the relation between daily physical activity and clinical assessments in patients with ankylosing spondylitis (AS).

Methods

For validity, the self-report questionnaires IPAQ and SQUASH were compared with daily physical activity assessed with the ActiGraph accelerometer during 7 consecutive days in 63 AS outpatients. For reliability, the IPAQ and SQUASH were administered twice approximately 1 week apart in 52 AS outpatients. In all 115 patients, clinical assessments were performed at the outpatient clinic.

Results

IPAQ and SQUASH total scores correlated significantly with accelerometer outcome: ρ = 0.38 and r = 0.35, respectively. Intraclass correlation coefficients between first and second assessments of the IPAQ and SQUASH were 0.83 and 0.89, respectively. Bland-Altman analyses showed no systemic bias, but in particular for the IPAQ the 95% limits of agreement were wide. Daily physical activity assessed by accelerometer, IPAQ, and SQUASH correlated significantly with disease activity, physical activity, and quality of life. A relation with spinal mobility was found only for the accelerometer and SQUASH. The direction of these correlations indicates that higher daily physical activity is related to lower disease activity and better physical function, spinal mobility and quality of life.

Conclusions

Both physical activity questionnaires showed modest construct validity. The SQUASH showed good test-retest reliability, superior to the IPAQ. These results indicate that the SQUASH is more suitable than the IPAQ to assess daily physical activity in AS population studies. However, it is desirable to add questions on AS-specific physical activity. Further studies are needed to investigate the causality of the relation between daily physical activity and clinical assessments.