Effect of Monitor Placement on the Daily Step Counts of Wrist and Hip Activity Monitors

in Journal for the Measurement of Physical Behaviour
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  • 1 University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  • | 2 University of North Florida
  • | 3 University of Tennessee, Knoxville
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Purpose: To examine the effect of activity monitor placement on daily step counts when monitors are worn at different positions on the wrist/forearm and the hip. Methods: Participants (N = 18) wore eight different models (four wrist and four hip models) across four days. Each day, one hip and one wrist model were selected, and four identical monitors of each model were worn on the right hip and the non-dominant wrist/forearm, respectively, during all waking hours. Step counts of each monitor were compared to the same model worn in the referent position (wrist: proximal to ulnar styloid process; hip: midline of thigh). Percent of referent steps and mean difference between observed and referent positions were computed. Significant differences in steps between positions for each method were determined using one-way repeated measures ANOVAs. For significant main effects, pairwise comparisons with Bonferroni corrections were used to determine which positions were significantly different. Results: All wrist methods showed a significant main effect for placement (p < .05) and alternate positions were 1–16% lower than the referent position. For hip methods, only the Omron HJ-325 differed across positions (p < .05), but differences were among non-referent positions and all were within ±2% of steps recorded by the referent position. Conclusions: Researchers should be aware that positions that deviate from the manufacturer’s recommended position at the wrist could influence step counts. Of all hip methods examined, the Omron had a significant placement effect which did not constitute a practical difference.

Park is with the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology; Marcotte is with the Department of Kinesiology; University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Amherst, MA, USA. Crouter and Bassett are with the Department of Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport Studies; Springer is with the Office of Information Technology, Research Computing Support; University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Knoxville, TN, USA. Toth is with the Department of Clinical and Applied Movement Sciences, Brooks College of Health, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, FL, USA.

Park (susanpark@umass.edu) is corresponding author.
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