Procedures Used to Standardize Data Collected by RT3 Triaxial Accelerometers in a Large-Scale Weight-Loss Trial

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background:

Accelerometers measure intensity, frequency, and duration of physical activity. However, the scarcity of reports on data reduction makes comparing accelerometer results across studies difficult.

Methods:

Participants were asked to wear a triaxial accelerometer (RT3) for ≥10 hours for at least 4 days, including one weekend day. We summarize our data-cleaning procedures and assess the impact of defining a usable day of measurements as at least 6, 8, or 10 hours of wear time, and of standardizing data to a 12-hour day.

Results:

Eighty-two percent of participants met wear time requirements; 93% met requirements when we defined a day as 8-or-more hours of wear time. Normalization of data to a 12-hour day had little impact on estimates of daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA; 16.9 vs. 17.1 minutes); restricting MVPA to activities occurring in bouts of 10 minutes or longer had greater impact (16.9 vs. 6.3 minutes per day).

Conclusion:

Our account of accelerometry quality-control and data-cleaning procedures documents the small impact of variations in daily wear time requirements on MVPA estimates, and the larger impact of evaluating total MVPA vs. MVPA occurring in extended bouts. This paper should allow other researchers to duplicate or revise our methods as needed.

Chen, LaFerriere, and Vollmer are with the Center for Health Research at Kaiser Permanente Northwest in Portland, OR. Jerome is with the Department of Kinesiology at Towson University in Towson, MD and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD. Young is with the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Maryland.