Accelerometer Test-Retest Reliability by Data Processing Algorithms: Results From the Twin Cities Walking Study

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background:

The purpose of this study was to determine 1) the test-retest reliability of adult accelerometer-measured physical activity, and 2) how data processing decisions affect physical activity levels and test-retest reliability.

Methods:

143 people wore the ActiGraph accelerometer for 2 7-day periods, 1 to 4 weeks apart. Five algorithms, varying nonwear criteria (20 vs. 60 min of 0 counts) and minimum wear requirements (6 vs. 10 hrs/day for ≥ 4 days) and a separate algorithm requiring ≥ 3 counts per min and ≥ 2 hours per day, were used to process the accelerometer data.

Results:

Processing the accelerometer data with different algorithms resulted in different levels of counts per day, sedentary, and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. Reliability correlations were very good to excellent (ICC = 0.70−0.90) for almost all algorithms and there were no significant differences between physical activity measures at Time 1 and Time 2.

Conclusions:

This paper presents the first assessment of test-retest reliability of the Actigraph over separate administrations in free-living subjects. The ActiGraph was highly reliable in measuring activity over a 7-day period in natural settings but data were sensitive to the algorithms used to process them.

Sirard and Oakes are with the Dept of Epidemiology and Community Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN. Forsyth is with the Dept of City and Regional Planning, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. Schmitz is with the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA.