Is There a Valid App for That? Validity of a Free Pedometer iPhone Application

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background:

This study examined the validity of a selected free pedometer application (iPedometer; IP) for the iPhone that could be used to assess physical activity.

Methods:

Twenty college students (10 men, 10 women; mean age: 21.85 ± 1.57 yrs) wore an iPhone at 3 locations (pocket, waist, arm) and a StepWatch 3 Step Activity Monitor (SW) on their right ankle while walking on a treadmill at 5 different speeds (54, 67, 80, 94, 107 m·min−1). A research assistant counted steps with a tally counter (TC).

Results:

Statistical significance between the TC, SW, and IP was found during every condition except IP in the pocket at 107 m·min−1 (F2,38 = .64, P = .54). Correlations involving the IP revealed only 1 positive correlation (IP on arm at 54 m·min−1) for any of the conditions (r = .46, P = .05).

Conclusion:

The IP application was not accurate in counting steps and recorded significantly lower step counts than the SW and TC. Thus, the free pedometer application used is not a valid instrument for monitoring activity during treadmill walking.

Randall J. Bergman and Spellman are with the Dept of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, Missouri Western State University, St. Joseph, MO. Hall is with the Dept of Exercise Science and Health Promotion, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL. Shawn M. Bergman is with the Dept of Psychology, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.