A catalog of validity indices for step counting wearable technologies during treadmill walking: the CADENCE-Kids study

Zachary R. Gould, Jose Mora-Gonzalez, Elroy J. Aguiar, John M. Schuna, Tiago V. Barreira, Christopher C. Moore, John Staudenmayer, Catrine Tudor-Locke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Wearable technologies play an important role in measuring physical activity (PA) and promoting health. Standardized validation indices (i.e., accuracy, bias, and precision) compare performance of step counting wearable technologies in young people. Purpose: To produce a catalog of validity indices for step counting wearable technologies assessed during different treadmill speeds (slow [0.8–3.2 km/h], normal [4.0–6.4 km/h], fast [7.2–8.0 km/h]), wear locations (waist, wrist/arm, thigh, and ankle), and age groups (children, 6–12 years; adolescents, 13–17 years; young adults, 18–20 years). Methods: One hundred seventeen individuals (13.1 ± 4.2 years, 50.4% female) participated in this cross-sectional study and completed 5-min treadmill bouts (0.8 km/h to 8.0 km/h) while wearing eight devices (Waist: Actical, ActiGraph GT3X+, NL-1000, SW-200; Wrist: ActiGraph GT3X+; Arm: SenseWear; Thigh: activPAL; Ankle: StepWatch). Directly observed steps served as the criterion measure. Accuracy (mean absolute percentage error, MAPE), bias (mean percentage error, MPE), and precision (correlation coefficient, r; standard deviation, SD; coefficient of variation, CoV) were computed. Results: Five of the eight tested wearable technologies (i.e., Actical, waist-worn ActiGraph GT3X+, activPAL, StepWatch, and SW-200) performed at < 5% MAPE over the range of normal speeds. More generally, waist (MAPE = 4%), thigh (4%) and ankle (5%) locations displayed higher accuracy than the wrist location (23%) at normal speeds. On average, all wearable technologies displayed the lowest accuracy across slow speeds (MAPE = 50.1 ± 35.5%), and the highest accuracy across normal speeds (MAPE = 15.9 ± 21.7%). Speed and wear location had a significant effect on accuracy and bias (P < 0.001), but not on precision (P > 0.05). Age did not have any effect (P > 0.05). Conclusions: Standardized validation indices focused on accuracy, bias, and precision were cataloged by speed, wear location, and age group to serve as important reference points when selecting and/or evaluating device performance in young people moving forward. Reduced performance can be expected at very slow walking speeds (0.8 to 3.2 km/h) for all devices. Ankle-worn and thigh-worn devices demonstrated the highest accuracy. Speed and wear location had a significant effect on accuracy and bias, but not precision. Trial registration: Clinicaltrials.govNCT01989104. Registered November 14, 2013.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number97
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Keywords

  • Accelerometer
  • Accuracy
  • Bias
  • Measurement
  • Pedometer
  • Physical activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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