Two Maltese researchers, Karl Spiteri (PhD candidate) and Dr John Xerri de Caro (from the Physiotherapy Department, UM) have recently been successful in publishing their work on the translation into the Maltese language, and its reliability, of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ). The importance of this is that it shall serve to assist research on the Maltese population by both local and international researchers investigating physical activity patterns in the Maltese. Until now, such research was carried out in the English language and this presented limitations in the face of cultural and language barriers.
The IPAQ has been translated into more than 20 different languages including Turkish, Serbian, Croatian, Nigerian, Malay, and French (IPAQ group, 2019), and now also into the Maltese language. A local version that is reliable is necessary as recalling PA behaviour is a complex cognitive process that can generate errors as a consequence of question interpretation and cultural differences.
The IPAQ is a widely used self-reported physical activity (PA) measure used to investigate health-related physical activity in populations, and developed to allow for international cross-country comparisons. A short version consists of seven questions and gleans data on vigorous- and moderate-intensity PA, walking, and sitting time on weekdays. A long version consists of 27 questions and gleans the same data but in different activities (i.e. work, transport, domestic and leisure time). The results support the use of this tool for studies in healthy people among Maltese-speaking populations. The translated Maltese version is a reliable tool and can be used with Maltese-speaking individuals when measuring physical activity and sedentary behaviour.
When assessing PA behaviours in Maltese-speaking populations, the translated version of MT-IPAQ-long will be an additional tool which PA researchers can use. The questionnaire is being promoted locally to public health specialists, researchers in the PA and health field. The MT-IPAQ-long is available online.