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Brian Tyo, Rebecca Spataro-Kearns and David R. Bassett Jr.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was twofold: (1) to determine if the Digi-Walker SW-200 (SW-200), New Lifestyles NL-2000 (NL-2000), and Omron HJ-303 (HJ-303) yield similar daily step counts compared to the StepWatch-3; and (2) to determine if pedometer error is influenced by adiposity and/or stepping rate in African American women. Methods: 60 participants (28.0 ± 9.8 y) wore the devices for three weekdays. ANOVAs were performed to determine if body mass index (BMI) and device were related to steps per day, and to determine if BMI and device were related to error. Stepwise linear regressions were performed to determine which variables contributed to pedometer error. Results: StepWatch-3 counted significantly more steps than all other devices within each BMI category (p < .01). The NL-2000 had significantly less error in the normal (−13.4%) and overweight (−14.9%) groups compared to the SW-200 (−26.2% and −33.3%) and HJ-303 (−32.5% ad −31.5%) (p < .05). The SW-200 had significantly more error in the obese group (−50.7%) compared to the NL-2000 (−17.1%) and HJ-303 (−26.0%) (p < .05). NL-2000 error was not related to any variables while the SW-200 error was related to waist circumference (WC) and the HJ-303 error was related to percentage of slow steps. Conclusion: In African American women adiposity is more strongly related to more pedometer error in a device using a spring-levered mechanism (SW-200). Accumulating steps at a slow rate is related to more pedometer error when using a device with a step filter (HJ-303).

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Yuri Feito, David R. Bassett, Dixie L. Thompson and Brian M. Tyo

Background:

Activity monitors are widely used in research, and are currently being used to study physical activity (PA) trends in the US and Canada. The purpose of this study was to determine if body mass index (BMI) affects the step count accuracy of commonly used accelerometer-based activity monitors during treadmill walking.

Methods:

Participants were classified into BMI categories and instructed to walk on a treadmill at 3 different speeds (40, 67, and 94 m·min−1) while wearing 4 accelerometer-based activity monitors (ActiGraph GT1M, ActiCal, NL-2000, and StepWatch).

Results:

There was no significant main effect of BMI on pedometer accuracy. At the slowest speed, all waist-mounted devices significantly underestimated actual steps (P < .001), with the NL-2000 recording the greatest percentage (72%). At the intermediate speed, the ActiGraph was the least accurate, recording only 80% of actual steps. At the fastest speed, all of the activity monitors demonstrated a high level of accuracy.

Conclusion:

Our data suggest that BMI does not greatly affect the step-counting accuracy of accelerometer-based activity monitors. However, the accuracy of the ActiGraph, ActiCal, and NL-2000 decreases at slower speeds. The ankle-mounted StepWatch was the most accurate device across a wide range of walking speeds.

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Jeremy A. Steeves, Brian M. Tyo, Christopher P. Connolly, Douglas A. Gregory, Nyle A. Stark and David R. Bassett

Background:

This study compared the validity of a new Omron HJ-303 piezoelectric pedometer and 2 other pedometers (Sportline Traq and Yamax SW200).

Methods:

To examine the effect of speed, 60 subjects walked on a treadmill at 2, 3, and 4 mph. Twenty subjects also ran at 6, 7, and 8 mph. To test lifestyle activities, 60 subjects performed front-back-side-side stepping, elliptical machine and stair climbing/descending. Twenty others performed ballroom dancing. Sixty participants completed 5 100-step trials while wearing 5 different sets of the devices tested device reliability. Actual steps were determined using a hand tally counter.

Results:

Significant differences existed among pedometers (P < .05). For walking, the Omron pedometers were the most valid. The Sportline overestimated and the Yamax underestimated steps (P < .05). Worn on the waist or in the backpack, the Omron device and Sportline were valid for running. The Omron was valid for 3 activities (elliptical machine, ascending and descending stairs). The Sportline overestimated all of these activities, and Yamax was only valid for descending stairs. The Omron and Yamax were both valid and reliable in the 100-step trials.

Conclusions:

The Omron HJ-303, worn on the waist, appeared to be the most valid of the 3 pedometers.