Cognitive Interviews Define Fuel for Fun Physical Activity Survey Items as Face Valid with Rochester, NY Area Fourth Graders


      Assess face validity of tested physical activity (PA) self-report items used to evaluate Fuel for Fun with a new 4th grade audience.

      Study Design, Setting, Participants

      Face-to-face, audio-recorded cognitive interviews conducted at library or school venues with a convenience sample of children from the Rochester, NY area.

      Outcome Measures and Analysis

      Interview transcripts were analyzed with Atlas.ti using a content analysis approach. Coherence and congruence with reference definitions were assessed for descriptions or amount of strenuous, moderate, mild, sedentary activity and practices/intentions toward PA to denote stage of change for PA behavior.


      Students (n=24; 50% girls; 92% white; 12% Hispanic) ranged from 8 to 10 y (M=9.70±.43 y) and attended nine schools (three urban, six suburban). Four students attended schools with free/reduced lunch participation ≥50% of the student body. Mean interview length was 29±4 min. Stage of change was action/maintenance for 87%, with 172±110 min/week strenuous activity, 155±122 min/week moderate, 124±136 min/week mild, and 2.5±2.2 hours/day sedentary activity. Although only 17% demonstrated comprehension of the terms strenuous, moderate or mild without example activities, all students reported that the listed example activities aided comprehension. Chronological understanding was strong with 96% providing sound responses for the difference between 30 and 60 minutes and 78% for the difference between 30 days and 6 months. The mixed horizontal-vertical layout was navigated well by 92%.

      Conclusions and Implications

      Fuel for Fun PA items demonstrated face validity and utility to assess PA interventions with 4th grade youth. However, comprehension may be improved further by simplifying specific terms and changing layout to a vertical-only format.


      USDA, Rochester Institute of Technology

      Supplementary data