Aging Clinical and Experimental Research

, Volume 30, Issue 2, pp 199–203 | Cite as

Criterion-related validity of self-reported stair climbing in older adults

  • Sara Higueras-Fresnillo
  • Irene Esteban-Cornejo
  • Pablo Gasque
  • Oscar L. Veiga
  • David Martinez-Gomez
Short Communication



Stair climbing is an activity of daily living that might contribute to increase levels of physical activity (PA). To date, there is no study examining the validity of climbing stairs assessed by self-report. The aim of this study was, therefore, to examine the validity of estimated stair climbing from one question included in a common questionnaire compared to a pattern-recognition activity monitor in older adults.


A total of 138 older adults (94 women), aged 65–86 years (70.9 ± 4.7 years), from the IMPACT65 + study participated in this validity study. Estimates of stair climbing were obtained from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) PA questionnaire. An objective assessment of stair climbing was obtained with the Intelligent Device for Energy Expenditure and Activity (IDEEA) monitor.


The correlation between both methods to assess stair climbing was fair (ρ = 0.22, p = 0.008 for PA energy expenditure and ρ = 0.26, p = 0.002 for duration). Mean differences between self-report and the IDEEA were 7.96 ± 10.52 vs. 9.88 ± 3.32 METs-min/day for PA energy expenditure, and 0.99 ± 1.32 vs. 1.79 ± 2.02 min/day for duration (both Wilcoxon test p < 0.001). Results from the Bland–Altman analysis indicate that bias between both instruments were −1.91 ± 10.30 METs-min/day and −0.80 ± 1.99 min/day, and corresponding limits of agreement for the two instruments were from 18.27 to −22.10 METs-min/day and from 3.09 to −4.70 min/day, respectively.


Our results indicate that self-reported stair climbing has modest validity to accurately rank old age participants, and underestimates both PAEE and its duration, as compared with an objectively measured method.


Climbing stairs Physical activity Energy expenditure Validity Elderly Accelerometer 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


This work was supported by Grants from MINECO I + D + i (DEP2013-47786-R), UAM-Santander (CEAL-AL/2015-20), and Real Madrid-UEM (P2016/RM09).

Ethical Approval

All procedures were performed in accordance with the principles of the Declaration of Helsinki and approved by the appropriate institutional review committee.

Informed consent

All participants gave their informed consent to participate in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sara Higueras-Fresnillo
    • 1
  • Irene Esteban-Cornejo
    • 2
  • Pablo Gasque
    • 1
  • Oscar L. Veiga
    • 1
  • David Martinez-Gomez
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physical Education, Sports, and Human MovementAutonomous University of MadridMadridSpain
  2. 2.Department of Physical Education and Sport, Faculty of Sport SciencesUniversity of GranadaGranadaSpain

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