Validating Accelerometers for the Assessment of Body Position and Sedentary Behavior

in Journal for the Measurement of Physical Behaviour
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  • 1 Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
  • 2 Heidelberg University
  • 3 Erasmus University Medical Center
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There is growing evidence that sedentary behavior is a risk factor for somatic and mental health. However, there is still a lack of objective field methods, which can assess both components of sedentary behavior: the postural (sitting/lying) and the movement intensity part. The purpose of the study was to compare the validity of different accelerometers (ActivPAL [thigh], ActiGraph [hip], move [hip], and move [thigh]). 20 adults (10 females; age 25.68 ± 4.55 years) participated in a structured protocol with a series of full- and semistandardized sessions under laboratory conditions. Direct observation via video recording was used as a criterion measure of body positions (sitting/lying vs. nonsitting/lying). By combining direct observation with metabolic equivalent tables, protocol activities were also categorized as sedentary or nonsedentary. Cohen’s kappa was calculated as an overall validity measure to compare accelerometer and video recordings. Across all conditions, for the measurement of sitting/lying body positions, the ActivPAL ([thigh], ĸ = .85) and Move 4 ([thigh], ĸ = .97) showed almost perfect agreement, whereas the Move 4 ([hip], ĸ = .78) and ActiGraph ([hip], ĸ = .67) showed substantial agreement. For the sedentary behavior part, across all conditions, the ActivPAL ([thigh], ĸ = .90), Move 4 ([thigh], ĸ = .95) and Move 4 ([hip], ĸ = .84) revealed almost perfect agreement, whereas the ActiGraph ([hip], ĸ = .69) showed substantial agreement. In particular, thigh-worn devices, namely the Move and the ActivPAL, achieved up to excellent validity in measuring sitting/lying body positions and sedentary behavior and are recommended for future studies.

Giurgiu, Hill, Anedda, Kronenwett, Koch, Ebner-Priemer, and Reichert are with the Institute of Sports and Sports Science, Mental mHealth Lab, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Karlsruhe, Germany. Giurgiu and Reichert are also with the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Central Institute of Mental Health, Medical Faculty Mannheim, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany. Bussmann is with the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Giurgiu (marco.giurgiu@kit.edu) is corresponding author.

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