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General Practice Physical Activity Questionnaire (GPPAQ)

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PatientPlus articles are written by UK doctors and are based on research evidence, UK and European Guidelines. They are designed for health professionals to use, so you may find the language more technical than the condition leaflets.

The General Practice Physical Activity Questionnaire (GPPAQ) was commissioned by the Department of Health and developed by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine as a validated short measure of physical activity. It was developed to assist primary care trusts (PCTs) to meet the National Service Framework recommendations that "primary care teams assess and record the modifiable risk factors for each of their patients, including physical activity".[1]


The GPPAQ is a validated screening tool for use in primary care that can be used to assess adult (16-74 years) physical activity levels.
It generates a simple, 4-level Physical Activity Index (PAI) categorising patients as: Active, Moderately Active, Moderately Inactive, and Inactive.

All patients who receive a score less than "Active" should be offered a brief intervention supporting behaviour change to increase their physical activity. It can be used as part of the NHS Health Check programme to assess people's risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and diabetes.

The appropriate PAI Read Codes should be used if entering PAI data into the clinical record.[2]

General Practice Physical Activity Questionnaire
Please tell us the type and amount of physical activity involved in your work.
I am not in employment (e.g. retired, retired for health reasons, unemployed, full-time carer etc.)
I spend most of my time at work sitting (such as in an office)
I spend most of my time at work standing or walking. However, my work does not require much intense physical effort (e.g. shop assistant, hairdresser, security guard, childminder, etc.)
My work involves definite physical effort including handling of heavy objects and use of tools (e.g. plumber, electrician,carpenter, cleaner, hospital nurse, gardener, postal delivery workers etc.)
My work involves vigorous physical activity including handling of very heavy objects (e.g. scaffolder, construction worker, refuse collector, etc.)
During the last week, how many hours did you spend on each of the following activities? Please answer whether you are in employment or not.
Physical exercise such as swimming, jogging, aerobics, football, tennis, gym workout, etc.
Cycling (including cycling to work) and during leisure time.
Walking (including walking to work), shopping, etc.
Housework or childcare.
Gardening or DIY.
How would you describe your usual walking pace?
 Physical Activity Index (PAI) 

The GPPAQ is ©Crown copyright. Reproduced under the terms of the Open Government Licence.

Questions concerning Walking, Housework/Childcare and Gardening/DIY have been included to allow patients to record their physical activity in these categories; however, these questions have not been shown to yield data of a sufficient reliability to contribute to an understanding of overall physical activity levels. They are not used in the generation of the PAI. [1]

Further reading & references

  1. The General Practice Physical Activity Questionnaire (GPPAQ), Dept of Health, 2006
  2. GPPAQ Publication Update (May 09), Eastern Region Public Health Observatory (NHS)

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.

Original Author:
Dr Huw Thomas
Current Version:
Document ID:
12442 (v7)
Last Checked:
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