Background: Self-reported physical activity is inaccurate, yet few investigators attempt to adjust for measurement error when estimating risks for health outcomes. We estimated what the association between self-reported physical activity and colorectal cancer risk would be if physical activity had been assessed using accelerometry instead. Methods: We conducted a validation study in which 235 Australian adults completed a telephone-administered International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ), and wore an accelerometer (Actigraph GT3X+) for 7 days. Using accelerometer-assessed physical activity as the criterion measure, we calculated validity coefficients and attenuation factors using a structural equation model adjusted for age, sex, education and body mass index. We then used a regression calibration approach to apply the attenuation factors to data from the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study (MCCS) to compute bias-adjusted hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). Results: Average daily minutes of physical activity from the short form of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ-short) were substantially higher than accelerometer-measured duration (55 versus 32 min). The validity coefficient (0.32; 95% CI: 0.20, 0.43) and attenuation factor (0.20; 95% CI: 0.12, 0.28) were low. The HRs for colorectal cancer risk for high (75th percentile; 411 min/week) versus low (25th percentile; 62 min/week) levels of self-reported physical activity were 0.95 (95% CI: 0.87, 1.05) before and 0.78 (95% CI: 0.47, 1.28) after bias adjustment. Conclusions: Over-estimation of physical activity by the IPAQ-short substantially attenuates the association between physical activity and colorectal cancer risk, suggesting that the protective effect of physical activity has been previously underestimated.
- Measurement error
- self-reported physical activity
- attenuation factor
- validity coefficient
- bias-adjusted hazard ratio
- structural equation model
- quantitative bias
Mahmood, S., Nguyen, N. H., Bassett, J. K., MacInnis, R. J., Karahalios, A., Owen, N.
, Bruinsma, F. J., Milne, R. L., Giles, G. G.
, English, D. R., & Lynch, B. M. (2020). A Quantitative Bias Analysis to Estimate Measurement Error-Related Attenuation of the Association Between Self-Reported Physical Activity and Colorectal Cancer Risk
. International Journal of Epidemiology
(1), 153-161. https://doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyz209