Using the Beacke Physical Activity Questionnaire to Establish Physical Activity norms

Tamar Jacob1, Ofira Einstein2

1 Professor Tamar Jacob, PhD, MPH, PT. Head of   Masters' Program, Physical Therapy Department,   Ariel University, Israel. E-mail:
2 Dr Ofira Einstein, PhD, BPT. Head of Physical   Therapy Department, Ariel University, Israel.


Evaluation of individuals’ or groups’ physical activity (PA) levels should be an integral component of physical therapy intake for further intervention.

Purpose: 1. To establish norms of PA levels measured using the Baecke Physical Activity Questionnaire (BPAQ) in a community-based sample of adults;
2. to identify norms for age, gender; and low back pain subgroups.

Methods: The study is based on data obtained from a previous cross-sectional survey of all 3350 adult inhabitants (ages 22 and 65) in one town in Israel. Five age groups were examined: ≤ 30; 31-40; 41-50; 51-60; ≥ 61. The BPAQ was used to evaluate PA levels.

Data Analysis: Means, standard deviations and 95% confidence intervals of BPAQ total and per-index scores (Occupation Activity Index - OAI, Sport Activity
Index - SAI, and Leisure Activity Index - LAI) were analyzed according to age group, gender, and LBP group.

Results: The PA norms that emerged differed by age group, gender, and by the existence of LBP. These differences were manifested in each of the BPAQ indices separately, but not for the total BPAQ score.

Conclusions: Pre-established norms of BPAQ may be suitable for use in a large population with similar characteristics. Clinicians, as well as researchers, can use the norms as a point of comparison with individuals’ and groups’ current PA levels, taking care to evaluate the levels of OAI, SAI and LAI separately. The discussion about a patient’s PA potential should be based not only on the WHO’s (World Health Organization) recommendations, but also on a comparison between the patient’s current habitual activity and the norms of the patient’s age group, gender, medical condition, and socioeconomic background.

Key words: age, gender, low back pain, BPAQ

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