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Original Research

Standardizing and Optimizing the Use of Accelerometer Data for Free-Living Physical Activity Monitoring



2005, 2, 366 – 383

The unequivocal link between physical activity and health has prompted researchers and public health officials to search for valid, reliable, and logis-tically feasible tools to measure and quantify free-living physical activity. Accelerometers hold promise in this regard. Recent technological advances have led to decreases in both the size and cost of accelerometers while increas-ing functionality (e.g., greater memory, waterproofing). A lack of common data reduction and standardized reporting procedures dramatically limit their potential, however. The purpose of this article is to expand on the utility of accelerometers for measuring free-living physical activity. A detailed example profile of physical activity is presented to highlight the potential richness of accelerometer data. Specific recommendations for optimizing and standardiz-ing the use of accelerometer data are provided with support from specific examples. This descriptive article is intended to advance and ignite scholarly dialogue and debate regarding accelerometer data capture, reduction, analysis, and reporting.


Authors: Dale W. Esliger, Jennifer L. Copeland, Joel D. Barnes, Mark S. Tremblay,

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