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Validating MOSPA questionnaire for measuring physical activity in Pakistani women

Romaina Iqbal1, Ghazala Rafique2, Salma Badruddin2, Rahat Qureshi2 and Katherine Gray-Donald3*

Author Affiliations

1 Population Health Research Institute, McMaster University, 237 Barton East, Hamilton ON L8L 2X2, Canada

2 Department of Community Health Sciences & Obstetrics and Gynecology, Aga Khan University, Stadium Road P.O. Box 3500, Karachi 74800, Pakistan

3 School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, McGill University, 21, 111 Lakeshore Road, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, QC H9X 3V9, Canada

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Nutrition Journal 2006, 5:18  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-5-18

Published: 10 August 2006



Precise measurements of activity at a population level are important for monitoring trends and evaluating health promotion strategies. Few studies have assessed the measurement of physical activity in developing countries. The aim of this study was to validate the MOSPA (Monica Optional Study of Physical Activity) questionnaire which was developed for the WHO-Monitoring trends and determinants of cardiovasculr disease (MONICA) study sites.


The MOSPA questionnaire assesses energy expendtiture (EE) related to physical activity (employment, household work, transportation, and leisure time) over a one year period. This questionnaire has been described in the manuscript as the long term (LT) questionnaire. An adapted short term (ST) 5 day questionnaire was developed to assess convergent validity. Questionnaire data were compared with physical activity EE estimates from a Caltrac accelerometer and with body composition measures (height, weight and bioelectrical impedance) in 50 women from the Aga Khan University (AKU) hospital antenatal clinics, Pakistan. Other forms of EE i.e. resting EE and thermic effect of food were not assessd in this study.


Subjects were aged 26 ± 3.8 years and were 16.1 ± 6.7 weeks pregnant. Their average weight was 58.8 ± 10.7 Kg. The average EE/day assessed by the Caltrac accelerometer, was 224 kcal and by MOSPA LT questionnaire it was 404 kcal. The questionnaires and Caltrac data were reasonably well correlated: r = 0.51 and r = 0.60 (P < 0.01) for LT and ST questionnaires respectively. Energy expenditure from questionnaire data was not correlated with body composition measures.


The MOSPA questionnaire is useful in assessing physical activity levels in a sedentary population over a one year period.