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On the use of a six-level scale for physical activity

Journal article
Authors Gunnar Grimby
Kerstin Frändin
Published in Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports
Volume 28
Issue 3
Pages 819-825
ISSN 0905-7188
Publication year 2018
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Health and Rehabilitation
Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience
Pages 819-825
Language en
Keywords elderly, leisure-time, physical activity, questionnaire, validation, randomized-controlled-trial, fear-avoidance beliefs, frail, elderly-people, older-people, nutritional intervention, activity, questionnaires, muscle strength, back-pain, follow-up, age, Sport Sciences
Subject categories Gerontology, specializing in Medical and Health Sciences


The 4-level questionnaire to assess leisure-time physical activity (PA) originally described by Saltin and Grimby has been extended to a 6 (or 7)-level questionnaire, especially for the elderly or other persons with a low level of PA, expanded to include household activities. There are currently two main versions, one used in Swedish, Danish, and Norwegian studies, and one with further modifications used in Finnish studies. In this review, predictive validity for mortality and different aspects of physical performance are demonstrated. In a study regarding concurrent validity in one of the Finnish versions, significant correlations with accelerometer-based PA variables are shown. The scale has been used in a number of studies concerning effects of different types of intervention, such as physical training and increased PA, or to describe the PA level in the studied cohort. In presenting and analyzing the data, different combinations of PA levels have been used. As there are major differences between the versions, validity studies cannot easily be transformed between them. Thus, it is suggested that a common consensus be reached with respect to details of the questionnaire.

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