The primary purpose of this study was to assess the validity of two motion sensors in measuring steps in institutionalized older adults during daily life activities. Sixty-eight nursing home residents (85.8 ± 5.6 years) were equipped with a hip-worn and ankle-worn piezoelectric pedometer (New Lifestyles 2000) and with an arm-mounted multisensor (SenseWear Mini). An investigator with a hand counter tallied the actual steps. The results revealed that the multisensor and hip- and ankle-worn pedometer significantly underestimated step counts (89.6 ± 17.2%, 72.9 ± 25.8%, and 20.8 ± 24.6%, respectively). Walking speed accounted for 41.6% of the variance in percent error of the ankle-worn pedometer. The threshold value for accurate step counting was set at 2.35 km/hr, providing percent error scores within ± 5%. The ankle-worn piezoelectric pedometer can be useful for accurate quantification of walking steps in the old and old-old (> 85 years) walking faster than 2.35 km/hr.
Martien, Delecluse, Seghers, and Boen are with the Department of Kinesiology, Faculty of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Sciences, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.