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Test-retest reliability and construct validity of the ENERGY-child questionnaire on energy balance-related behaviours and their potential determinants: the ENERGY-project

Amika S Singh1*, Froydis N Vik2, Mai JM Chinapaw1, Léonie Uijtdewilligen1, Maïté Verloigne3, Juan M Fernández-Alvira4, Sarolta Stomfai5, Yannis Manios6, Marloes Martens7 and Johannes Brug8

Author Affiliations

1 VU University Medical Center, EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, Dpt. of Public and Occupational Health, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

2 University of Agder, Department of Public Health, Sport and Nutrition, Kristiansand, Norway

3 Ghent University, Department of Movement and Sport Sciences, Gent, Belgium

4 GENUD (Growth, Exercise, NUtrition and Development) Research Group, Escuela Universitaria de Ciencias de la Salud, Universidad de Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain

5 University of Pécs, Department of Paediatrics, Pecs, Hungary

6 Harokopio University, Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Athens, Greece

7 ResCon, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

8 VU University Medical Center, EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

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International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2011, 8:136  doi:10.1186/1479-5868-8-136

Published: 9 December 2011



Insight in children's energy balance-related behaviours (EBRBs) and their determinants is important to inform obesity prevention research. Therefore, reliable and valid tools to measure these variables in large-scale population research are needed.


To examine the test-retest reliability and construct validity of the child questionnaire used in the ENERGY-project, measuring EBRBs and their potential determinants among 10-12 year old children.


We collected data among 10-12 year old children (n = 730 in the test-retest reliability study; n = 96 in the construct validity study) in six European countries, i.e. Belgium, Greece, Hungary, the Netherlands, Norway, and Spain. Test-retest reliability was assessed using the intra-class correlation coefficient (ICC) and percentage agreement comparing scores from two measurements, administered one week apart. To assess construct validity, the agreement between questionnaire responses and a subsequent face-to-face interview was assessed using ICC and percentage agreement.


Of the 150 questionnaire items, 115 (77%) showed good to excellent test-retest reliability as indicated by ICCs > .60 or percentage agreement ≥ 75%. Test-retest reliability was moderate for 34 items (23%) and poor for one item. Construct validity appeared to be good to excellent for 70 (47%) of the 150 items, as indicated by ICCs > .60 or percentage agreement ≥ 75%. From the other 80 items, construct validity was moderate for 39 (26%) and poor for 41 items (27%).


Our results demonstrate that the ENERGY-child questionnaire, assessing EBRBs of the child as well as personal, family, and school-environmental determinants related to these EBRBs, has good test-retest reliability and moderate to good construct validity for the large majority of items.

child questionnaire; self-report; psychometric; physical activity; sedentary behaviour; soft drinks; fruit juice; active transport; breakfast