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Measurement Reactivity in Ecological Momentary Assessment Studies of Movement-Related Behaviors

Jaclyn P. Maher, Danielle Arigo, Kiri Baga, Gabrielle M. Salvatore, Kristen Pasko, Brynn L. Hudgins, and Laura M. König

Measurement reactivity has implications for behavioral science, as it is crucial to determine whether changes in constructs of interest represent true change or are an artifact of assessment. This study investigated whether measurement reactivity occurs for movement-related behaviors, motivational antecedents of behavior, and associations between them. Data from ecological momentary assessment studies of older adults (n = 195) and women in midlife (n = 75) lasting 8–10 days with 5–6 prompts/day and ambulatory monitoring of movement were used for this secondary data analysis. To examine potential drop-off patterns indicative of measurement reactivity, multilevel models tested whether behavior, antecedents, and associations changed after the first or first 2 prompts compared with remaining prompts and the first, first 2, or first 3 days compared with remaining days. Older adults’ sedentary behavior was lower, and time spent upright and intentions and self-efficacy to stand/move were higher on the first 2 and first 3 days compared with remaining days. Associations between intentions and self-efficacy and subsequent sedentary behavior were weaker earlier in the study compared to later. For women in midlife, light physical activity was higher at the first and first 2 prompts compared with remaining prompts, and physical activity motivation was higher across all prompts and days tested. There was a stronger association between intended and observed minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity on the first 2 days compared with remaining days. Measurement reactivity appeared as expected for movement-related behaviors and motivational antecedents, though changes in associations between these constructs are likely do not reflect measurement reactivity.

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Characterizing ActiGraph’s Idle Sleep Mode in Free-Living Assessments of Physical Behavior

Samuel R. LaMunion, Robert J. Brychta, Joshua R. Freeman, Pedro F. Saint-Maurice, Charles E. Matthews, Asuka Ishihara, and Kong Y. Chen

ActiGraph’s idle sleep mode (ISM) is an optional battery- and memory-conserving feature believed to engage during periods of nonwear, inactivity, and sleep, but it has not been well studied in free-living environments. Thus, we investigated ISM during a 7-day assessment in a nationally representative sample of 13,649 participants (6–80 years) in the United States and found it engaged 43.6% ± 0.2% (mean ± SE) of the 24 hr per day. ISM engagement was highest (78.4% ± 0.2%) during early morning (00:00–05:59) and lowest (20.4% ± 0.3%) during afternoon (12:00–17:59), corresponding to quadrants of lowest and highest of movement, respectively. ISM engagement was also inversely correlated with daily activity across all participants (R = −.72, p < .001). When restricted to participants averaging ≥21 hr per day of wear (N = 10,482), ISM still engaged 39.5% ± 0.2% of the day and inversely correlated to daily activity (R = −.58, p < .001). These results suggest ISM engages in activity level-dependent temporal patterns. Additional research is needed to better inform analyses and interpretation of ISM-enabled data including whether it is appropriate to process them with existing methods that were developed and validated using data without ISM enabled. This issue may be particularly relevant for methods used to detect and score sleep, as ISM engaged during a substantial portion of the typical overnight sleep period in the 8-hr window between ≥22:00 and <06:00 (74.0% ± 12.6%, mean ± SD).

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Comparability of 24-hr Activity Cycle Outputs From ActiGraph Counts Generated in ActiLife and RStudio

Alexander H.K. Montoye, Kimberly A. Clevenger, Benjamin D. Boudreaux, and Michael D. Schmidt

Data from ActiGraph accelerometers have long been imported into ActiLife software, where the company’s proprietary “activity counts” were generated in order to understand physical behavior metrics. In 2022, ActiGraph released an open-source method to generate activity counts from any raw, triaxial accelerometer data using Python, which has been translated into RStudio packages. However, it is unclear if outcomes are comparable when generated in ActiLife and RStudio. Therefore, the authors’ technical note systematically compared activity counts and related physical behavior metrics generated from ActiGraph accelerometer data using ActiLife or available packages in RStudio and provides example code to ease implementation of such analyses in RStudio. In addition to comparing triaxial activity counts, physical behavior outputs (sleep, sedentary behavior, light-intensity physical activity, and moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity) were compared using multiple nonwear algorithms, epochs, cut points, sleep scoring algorithms, and accelerometer placement sites. Activity counts and physical behavior outcomes were largely the same between ActiLife and the tested packages in RStudio. However, peculiarities in the application of nonwear algorithms to the first and last portions of a data file (that occurred on partial, first or last days of data collection), differences in rounding, and handling of counts values on the borderline of activity intensities resulted in small but inconsequential differences in some files. The hope is that researchers and both hardware and software manufacturers continue to push efforts toward transparency in data analysis and interpretation, which will enhance comparability across devices and studies and help to advance fields examining links between physical behavior and health.

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Pre- Versus Postmeal Sedentary Duration—Impact on Postprandial Glucose in Older Adults With Overweight or Obesity

Elizabeth Chun, Irina Gaynanova, Edward L. Melanson, and Kate Lyden

Introduction : Reducing sedentary time is associated with improved postprandial glucose regulation. However, it is not known if the timing of sedentary behavior (i.e., pre- vs. postmeal) differentially impacts postprandial glucose in older adults with overweight or obesity. Methods : In this secondary analysis, older adults (≥65 years) with overweight and obesity (body mass index ≥ 25 kg/m2) wore a continuous glucose monitor and a sedentary behavior monitor continuously in their real-world environments for four consecutive days on four separate occasions. Throughout each 4-day measurement period, participants followed a standardized eucaloric diet and recorded mealtimes in a diary. Glucose, sedentary behavior, and meal intake data were fused using sensor and diary timestamps. Mixed-effect linear regression models were used to evaluate the impact of sedentary timing relative to meal intake. Results : Premeal sedentary time was significantly associated with both the increase from premeal glucose to the postmeal peak (ΔG) and the percent of premeal glucose increase that was recovered 1-hr postmeal glucose peak (%Baseline Recovery; p < .05), with higher levels of premeal sedentary time leading to both a larger ΔG and a smaller %Baseline Recovery. Postmeal sedentary time was significantly associated with the time from meal intake to glucose peak (ΔT; p < .05), with higher levels of postmeal sedentary time leading to a longer time to peak. Conclusions : Pre- versus postmeal sedentary behavior differentially impacts postprandial glucose response in older adults with overweight or obesity, suggesting that the timing of sedentary behavior reductions might play an influential role on long-term glycemic control.

Open access

A Self-Paced Walk Test for Individual Calibration of Heart Rate to Energy Expenditure

Kate Westgate, Tomas I. Gonzales, Stefanie Hollidge, Tim Lindsay, Nick Wareham, and Søren Brage

Introduction: Estimating free-living physical activity (PA) with continuous heart rate (HR) monitoring is challenging due to individual variation in the relationship between HR and energy expenditure. This variation can be captured through individual calibration with graded exercise tests, but structured tests with prescribed load require medical screening and are not always feasible in population settings. We present and evaluate an individual calibration method using HR response to a less demanding self-paced walk test. Methods: Six hundred and forty-three participants from the Fenland Study (Cambridgeshire, the United Kingdom) completed a 200-m self-paced walk test, a treadmill test, and 1 week of continuous HR and accelerometry monitoring. Mixed-effects regression was used to derive a walk test calibration model from HR response to the walk using treadmill-based parameters as criterion. Free-living PA estimates from the calibration model were compared with treadmill-calibrated and non-exercise-calibrated estimates. Results: Walk calibration captured 57% of the variance in the HR–energy expenditure relationship determined by the treadmill test. Applying walk calibration to data from free-living yielded similar PA estimates to those using treadmill calibration (52.7 vs. 52.0 kJ·kg−1·day−1; mean difference: 0.7 kJ·kg−1·day−1, 95% confidence interval [−0.0, 1.5]) and high correlation (r = .89). Individual differences were observed (root mean square error: 10.0 kJ·kg−1·day−1; 95% limits of agreement: −20.6, 19.1 kJ·kg−1·day−1). Walk calibration improved precision by 29% compared with nonexercise group calibration (root mean square error: 14.0 kJ·kg−1·day−1; 95% limits of agreement: −30.4, 24.5 kJ·kg−1·day−1). Conclusions: A 200-m self-paced walk test captures between-individual variation in the HR–energy expenditure relationship and facilitates estimation of free-living PA in population settings.

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The KID Study (Kids Interacting With Dogs): Piloting a Novel Approach for Measuring Dog-Facilitated Youth Physical Activity

Colleen J. Chase, Sarah Burkart, and Katie Potter

Background: Two-thirds of children in the United States do not meet the National Physical Activity Guidelines, leaving a majority at higher risk for negative health outcomes. Novel, effective children’s physical activity (PA) interventions are urgently needed. Dog-facilitated PA (e.g., dog walking and active play) is a promising intervention target, as dogs support many of the known correlates of children’s PA. There is a need for accurate methods of quantifying dog-facilitated PA. Purpose: The study purpose was to determine the feasibility and acceptability of a novel method for quantifying the volume and intensity of dog-facilitated PA among dog-owning children. Methods: Children and their dog(s) wore ActiGraph accelerometers with a Bluetooth proximity feature for 7 days. Additionally, parents logged child PA with the family dog(s). Total minutes of dog-facilitated PA and percentage of overall daily moderate to vigorous PA performed with the dog were calculated. Results: Twelve children (mean age = 7.8 ± 2.9 years) participated. There was high feasibility, with 100% retention, valid device data (at least 4 days ≥6-hr wear time), and completion of daily parent log and questionnaire packets. On average, dog-facilitated PA contributed 22.9% (9.2 min) and 15.1% (7.3 min) of the overall daily moderate to vigorous PA for children according to Bluetooth proximity data and parent report, respectively. Conclusions: This pilot study demonstrated the feasibility of utilizing an accelerometer with a proximity feature to quantify dog-facilitated PA. Future research should use this protocol with a larger, more diverse sample to determine whether dog-facilitated PA contributes a clinically significant amount toward overall PA in dog-owning youth.

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Comparison of Sleep and Physical Activity Metrics From Wrist-Worn ActiGraph wGT3X-BT and GT9X Accelerometers During Free-Living in Adults

Duncan S. Buchan

Background: ActiGraph accelerometers can monitor sleep and physical activity (PA) during free-living, but there is a need to confirm agreement in outcomes between different models. Methods: Sleep and PA metrics from two ActiGraphs were compared after participants (N = 30) wore a GT9X and wGT3X-BT on their nondominant wrist for 7 days during free-living. PA metrics including total steps, counts, average acceleration—Euclidean Norm Minus One (ENMO) and Mean Amplitude Deviation, intensity gradient, the minimum acceleration value of the most active 10 and 30 min (M10, M30), time spent in activity intensities from vector magnitude (VM) counts, and ENMO cut points and sleep metrics (sleep period time window, sleep duration, sleep onset, and waking time) were compared. Results: Excellent agreement was evident for average acceleration-Mean Amplitude Deviation, counts, total steps, M10, and light PA (VM counts) with good agreement evident from the remaining PA metrics apart from moderate–vigorous PA (VM counts) which demonstrated moderate agreement. Mean bias for all PA metrics were low, as were the limits of agreement for the intensity gradient, average acceleration-Mean Amplitude Deviation, and inactive time (ENMO and VM counts). The limits of agreement for all other PA metrics were >10%. Excellent agreement, low mean bias, and narrow limits of agreement were evident for all sleep metrics. All sleep and PA metrics demonstrated equivalence (equivalence zone of ≤10%) apart from moderate–vigorous PA (ENMO) which needed an equivalence zone of 16%. Conclusions: Equivalent estimates of almost all PA and sleep metrics are provided from the GT9X and wGT3X-BT worn on the nondominant wrist.

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Criterion Validity of Accelerometers in Determining Knee-Flexion Angles During Sitting in a Laboratory Setting

Yanlin Wu, Myles W. O’Brien, Alexander Peddle, W. Seth Daley, Beverly D. Schwartz, Derek S. Kimmerly, and Ryan J. Frayne

Introduction: Device-based monitors often classify all sedentary positions as the sitting posture, but sitting with bent or straight legs may exhibit unique physiological and biomechanical effects. The classifications of the specific nuances of sitting have not been understood. The purpose of this study was to validate a dual-monitor approach from a trimonitor configuration measuring knee-flexion angles compared to motion capture (criterion) during sitting in laboratory setting. Methods: Nineteen adults (12, 24 ± 4 years) wore three activPALs (torso, thigh, tibia) while 14 motion capture cameras simultaneously tracked 15 markers located on bony landmarks. Each participant completed a 45-s supine resting period and eight, 45-s seated trials at different knee flexion angles (15° increment between 0° and 105°, determined via goniometry), followed by 15 s of standing. Validity was assessed via Friedman’s test (adjusted p value = .006), mean absolute error, Bland–Altman analyses, equivalence testing, and intraclass correlation. Results: Compared to motion capture, the calculated angles from activPALs were not different during 15°–90° (all, p ≥ .009), underestimated at 105° (p = .002) and overestimated at 0°, as well as the supine position (both, p < .001). Knee angles between 15° and 105° exhibited a mean absolute error of ∼5°, but knee angles <15° exhibited larger degrees of error (∼10°). A proportional (β = −0.12, p < .001) bias was observed, but a fixed (0.5° ± 1.7°, p = .405) bias did not exist. In equivalence testing, the activPALs were statistically equivalent to motion capture across 30°–105°. Strong agreement between the activPALs and motion capture was observed (intraclass correlation = .97, p < .001). Conclusions: The usage of a three-activPAL configuration detecting seated knee-flexion angles in free-living conditions is promising.

Free access

Erratum. Context Matters: The Importance of Physical Activity Domains for Public Health

Journal for the Measurement of Physical Behaviour

Free access

Influence of Accelerometer Calibration on the Estimation of Objectively Measured Physical Activity: The Tromsø Study

Marc Weitz, Bente Morseth, Laila A. Hopstock, and Alexander Horsch

Accelerometers are increasingly used to observe human behavior such as physical activity under free-living conditions. An important prerequisite to obtain reliable results is the correct calibration of the sensors. However, accurate calibration is often neglected, leading to potentially biased results. Here, we demonstrate and quantify the effect of accelerometer miscalibration on the estimation of objectively measured physical activity under free-living conditions. The total volume of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) was significantly reduced after post hoc auto-calibration for uniaxial and triaxial count data, as well as for Euclidean Norm Minus One and mean amplitude deviation raw data. Weekly estimates of MVPA were reduced on average by 5.5, 9.2, 45.8, and 4.8 min, respectively, when compared to the original uncalibrated estimates. Our results indicate a general trend of overestimating physical activity when using factory-calibrated sensors. In particular, the accuracy of estimates derived from the Euclidean Norm Minus One feature suffered from uncalibrated sensors. For all modalities, the more uncalibrated the sensor was, the more MVPA was overestimated. This might especially affect studies with lower sample sizes.