Convergent Validity of the Fitbit Charge 2 to Measure Sedentary Behavior and Physical Activity in Overweight and Obese Adults

in Journal for the Measurement of Physical Behaviour
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  • 1 Curtin University
  • 2 University of Witwatersrand
  • 3 National University of Singapore
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Activity trackers provide real-time sedentary behavior (SB) and physical activity (PA) data enabling feedback to support behavior change. The validity of activity trackers in an obese population in a free-living environment is largely unknown. This study determined the convergent validity of the Fitbit Charge 2 in measuring SB and PA in overweight adults. The participants (n = 59; M ± SD: age = 48 ± 11 years; body mass index = 34 ± 4 kg/m2) concurrently wore a Charge 2 and ActiGraph GT3X+ accelerometer for 8 days. The same waking wear periods were analyzed, and standard cut points for GT3X+ and proprietary algorithms for the Charge 2, together with a daily step count, were used. Associations between outputs, mean difference (MD) and limits of agreement (LOA), and relative differences were assessed. There was substantial association between devices (intraclass correlation coefficients from .504, 95% confidence interval [.287, .672] for SB, to .925, 95% confidence interval [.877, .955] for step count). In comparison to the GT3X+, the Charge 2 overestimated SB (MD = 37, LOA = −129 to 204 min/day), moderate to vigorous PA (MD = 15, LOA = −49 to 79 min/day), and steps (MD = 1,813, LOA = −1,066 to 4,691 steps/day), and underestimated light PA (MD = −32, LOA = −123 to 58 min/day). The Charge 2 may be a useful tool for self-monitoring of SB and PA in an overweight population, as mostly good agreement was demonstrated with the GT3X+. However, there were mean and relative differences, and the implications of these need to be considered for overweight adult populations who are already at risk of being highly sedentary and insufficiently active.

McVeigh, Ellis, Ross, Tang, and Wan are with the School of Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy and Social Work, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia. McVeigh is also with the Movement Physiology Laboratory, School of Physiology, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. Halse, Dhaliwal, and Kerr are with the School of Public Health, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia. Dhaliwal is also with the Duke-NUS Medical School, National University of Singapore, Singapore. Straker is with the School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia.

McVeigh (Joanne.Mcveigh@curtin.edu.au) is corresponding author.
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