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Christopher C. Moore, Aston K. McCullough, Elroy J. Aguiar, Scott W. Ducharme, and Catrine Tudor-Locke

Background: The authors conducted a scoping review as a first step toward establishing harmonized (ie, consistent and compatible), empirically based best practices for validating step-counting wearable technologies. Purpose: To catalog studies validating step-counting wearable technologies during treadmill ambulation. Methods: The authors searched PubMed and SPORTDiscus in August 2019 to identify treadmill-based validation studies that employed the criterion of directly observed (including video recorded) steps and cataloged study sample characteristics, protocol details, and analytical procedures. Where reported, speed- and wear location–specific mean absolute percentage error (MAPE) values were tabulated. Weighted median MAPE values were calculated by wear location and a 0.2-m/s speed increment. Results: Seventy-seven eligible studies were identified: most had samples averaging 54% (SD = 5%) female and 27 (5) years of age, treadmill protocols consisting of 3 to 5 bouts at speeds of 0.8 (0.1) to 1.6 (0.2) m/s, and reported measures of bias. Eleven studies provided MAPE values at treadmill speeds of 1.1 to 1.8 m/s; their weighted median MAPE values were 7% to 11% for wrist-worn, 1% to 4% for waist-worn, and ≤1% for thigh-worn devices. Conclusions: Despite divergent study methodologies, the authors identified common practices and summarized MAPE values representing device step-count accuracy during treadmill walking. These initial empirical findings should be further refined to ultimately establish harmonized best practices for validating wearable technologies.