Reliability and validity of the COSMED K5 portable metabolic system during walking

Jacob P. DeBlois, Lindsey E. White, Tiago V. Barreira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Purpose: Portable methods for assessing energy expenditure outside the laboratory and clinical environments are becoming more widely used. As such, it is important to understand the accuracy of such devices. Therefore, the purpose was to determine the reliability and validity of the COSMED K5 portable metabolic system. Methods: Reliability and validity were assessed in 27 adults (age: 27 ± 5 years; n = 15 women) using a walking protocol. The protocol consisted of a 5-min walk/2-min rest cycle starting at 1.5 mph and increasing in 0.5-mph increments to 4.0 mph. During visit one, participants wore the K5 to assess oxygen consumption (V ˙ O2), carbon dioxide production (V ˙ CO2), and other metabolic variables. Two to seven days later, the protocol was repeated twice with the COSMED K5 and K4b2 systems in a randomized, counterbalanced order. Results: Intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) revealed that the K5 reliably measured V ˙ O2 (ICC 0.64–0.85) and V ˙ CO2 across all walking speeds (ICC 0.50–0.80), with stronger reliability at faster walking speeds compared with slower speeds. Moderate-to-strong relationships were observed for measured gases between the K5 and K4b2. Specifically, V ˙ O2 exhibited a moderately high-to-high relationship between devices (r = 0.72–0.82), and a similarly moderately high-to-high relationship was observed for V ˙ CO2 (r = 0.68–0.82). While there were no differences in V ˙ O2 measured between devices (p ≥ 0.10), the K5 provided lower V ˙ CO2 readings than the K4b2 during the 3.0, 3.5, and 4.0 mph walking speeds (p ≤ 0.02). Conclusions: The K5 provided reliable and valid measures of metabolic variables, with greater reliability and validity at faster walking speeds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-217
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Accuracy
  • Consistency
  • Metabolic gases
  • Physical activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Reliability and validity of the COSMED K5 portable metabolic system during walking'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this