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Scott E. Crouter, Paul R. Hibbing, and Samuel R. LaMunion

The purpose of this study was to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the ActiGraph GT3X+ (AG) and activPAL (AP) for assessing time spent in sedentary behaviors (SB) in youth using structured and free-living activities. Forty-four participants (M age, 12.7±0.8 yrs) completed up to eight structured activities and approximately 2 hrs of free-living activity while wearing an AG (right hip) and AP (right thigh). A Cosmed K4b2 was used for measured energy expenditure (METy; activity VO2 ÷ resting VO2). Direct observation was used during the structured activities. SB time was estimated using the inclinometer function of the AP and AG, and count thresholds with AG (<75 vector magnitude [VM] counts/10-s; <25 vertical axis [VA] counts/10-s; and <50, 100, 150, and 200 VA counts/min). For the structured activities, the AG inclinometer and AP correctly classified supine rest about 45% of the time, seated activities 54.6% and 65.1% of the time, respectively, and walking and running >96% of the time. For the free-living measurement, the VA <25 counts/10-s had the lowest RMSE (20.6 min), while the VM <75 counts/10-s had the lowest MAPE (69.2%). The AG inclinometer was within 0.2 minutes of measured time, but had the highest MAPE (107.1%). The AP was within 1.6 minutes of measured time, but had the highest RMSE (28.5 minutes). Compared to measured SB time, the VA <25 counts/10-s and VM <75 counts/10-s provided the most precise estimates of SB during free-living activity. Further refinement is needed to improve the AP and AG posture estimates.

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Paul R. Hibbing, Samuel R. LaMunion, Haileab Hilafu, and Scott E. Crouter

Background: Bout detection algorithms are used to segment data from wearable sensors, but it is challenging to assess segmentation correctness. The purpose of this study was to present and demonstrate the Transition Pairing Method (TPM), a new method for evaluating the performance of bout detection algorithms. Methods: The TPM compares predicted transitions to a criterion measure in terms of number and timing. A true positive is defined as a predicted transition that corresponds with one criterion transition in a mutually exclusive pair. The pairs are established using an extended Gale-Shapley algorithm, and the user specifies a maximum allowable within-pair time lag, above which pairs cannot be formed. Unpaired predictions and criteria are false positives and false negatives, respectively. The demonstration used raw acceleration data from 88 youth who wore ActiGraph GT9X monitors (right hip and non-dominant wrist) during simulated free-living. Youth Sojourn bout detection algorithms were applied (one for each attachment site), and the TPM was used to compare predicted bout transitions to the criterion measure (direct observation). Performance metrics were calculated for each participant, and hip-versus-wrist means were compared using paired t-tests (α = 0.05). Results: When the maximum allowable lag was 1-s, both algorithms had recall <20% (2.4% difference from one another, p < .01) and precision <10% (1.4% difference from one another, p < .001). That is, >80% of criterion transitions were undetected, and >90% of predicted transitions were false positives. Conclusion: The TPM improves on conventional analyses by providing specific information about bout detection in a standardized way that applies to any bout detection algorithm.

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Elizabeth L. Stegemöller, Joshua R. Tatz, Alison Warnecke, Paul Hibbing, Brandon Bates, and Andrew Zaman

Auditory cues, including music, are commonly used in the treatment of persons with Parkinson’s disease. Yet, how music style and movement rate modulate movement performance in persons with Parkinson’s disease have been neglected and remain limited in healthy young populations. The purpose of this study was to determine how music style and movement rate influence movement performance in healthy young adults. Healthy participants were asked to perform repetitive finger movements at two pacing rates (70 and 140 beats per minute) for the following conditions: (a) a tone only, (b) activating music, and (c) relaxing music. Electromyography, movement kinematics, and variability were collected. Results revealed that the provision of music, regardless of style, reduced amplitude variability at both pacing rates. Intermovement interval was longer, and acceleration variability was reduced during both music conditions at the lower pacing rate only. These results may prove beneficial for designing therapeutic interventions for persons with Parkinson’s disease.

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Samantha F. Ehrlich, Amanda J. Casteel, Scott E. Crouter, Paul R. Hibbing, Monique M. Hedderson, Susan D. Brown, Maren Galarce, Dawn P. Coe, David R. Bassett, and Assiamira Ferrara

Background: This study sought to compare three sensor-based wear-time estimation methods to conventional diaries for ActiGraph wGT3X-BT accelerometers worn on the non-dominant wrist in early pregnancy. Methods: Pregnant women (n = 108) wore ActiGraph wGT3X-BT accelerometers for seven days and recorded their device on and off times in a diary (criterion). Average daily wear-time estimates from the Troiano and Choi algorithms and the wGT3X-BT accelerometer wear sensor were compared against the diary. The Hibbing 2-regression model was used to estimate time spent in activity (during periods of device wear) for each method. Wear-time and time spent in activity were compared with multiple repeated measures ANOVAs. Bland Altman plots assessed agreement between methods. Results: Compared to the diary (825.5 minutes [795.1, 856.0]), the Choi (843.0 [95% CI: 812.6, 873.5]) and Troiano (839.1 [808.7, 869.6]) algorithms slightly overestimated wear-time, whereas the sensor (774.4 [743.9, 804.9]) underestimated it, although only the sensor differed significantly from the diary (p < .0001). Upon adjustment for average daily wear-time, there were no statistically significant differences between the wear-time methods in regards to minutes per day of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), vigorous physical activity, and moderate physical activity. Bland Altman plots indicated the Troiano and Choi algorithms were similar to the diary and within ≤0.5% of each other for wear-time and MVPA. Conclusions: The Choi or Troiano algorithms offer a valid and efficient alternative to diaries for the estimation of daily wear-time in larger-scale studies of MVPA during pregnancy, and reduce burden for study participants and research staff.

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Susan Park, Lindsay P. Toth, Paul R. Hibbing, Cary M. Springer, Andrew S. Kaplan, Mckenzie D. Feyerabend, Scott E. Crouter, and David R. Bassett

It has become common to wear physical activity monitors on the wrist to estimate steps per day, but few studies have considered step differences between monitors worn on the dominant and non-dominant wrists. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to compare four step counting methods on the dominant versus non-dominant wrist using the Fitbit Charge (FC) and ActiGraph GT9X (GT9X) across all waking hours of one day. Methods: Twelve participants simultaneously wore two monitors (FC and GT9X) on each wrist during all waking hours for an entire day. GT9X data were analyzed with three step counting methods: ActiLife algorithm with default filter (AG-noLFE), ActiLife algorithm with low-frequency extension (AG-LFE), and the Moving Average Vector Magnitude (AG-MAVM) algorithm. A 2-way repeated measures ANOVA (method × wrist) was used to compare step counts. Results: There was a significant main effect for wrist placement (F(1,11) = 11.81, p = .006), with the dominant wrist estimating an average of 1,253 more steps than the non-dominant wrist. Steps differed between the dominant and non-dominant wrist for three of the step methods: AG-noLFE (1,327 steps), AG-LFE (2,247 steps), AG-MAVM (825 steps), and approached statistical significance for FC (613 steps). No significant method x wrist placement interaction was found (F(3,9) = 2.62, p = .115). Conclusion: Findings suggest that for step counting algorithms, it may be important to consider the placement of wrist-worn monitors since the dominant wrist location tended to yield greater step estimates. Alternatively, standardizing the placement of wrist-worn monitors could help to reduce the differences in daily step counts across studies.

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Lindsay P. Toth, Susan Park, Whitney L. Pittman, Damla Sarisaltik, Paul R. Hibbing, Alvin L. Morton, Cary M. Springer, Scott E. Crouter, and David R. Bassett

Purpose: To examine the effect of brief, intermittent stepping bouts on step counts from 10 physical activity monitors (PAMs). Methods: Adults (N = 21; M ± SD, 26 ± 9.0 yr) wore four PAMs on the wrist (Garmin Vivofit 2, Fitbit Charge, Withings Pulse Ox, and ActiGraph wGT3X-BT [AG]), four on the hip (Yamax Digi-Walker SW-200 [YX], Fitbit Zip, Omron HJ-322U, and AG), and two on the ankle (StepWatch [SW] with default and modified settings). AG data were processed with and without the low frequency extension (AGL) and with the Moving Average Vector Magnitude algorithm. In Part 1 (five trials), walking bouts were varied (4–12 steps) and rest intervals were held constant (10 s). In Part 2 (six trials), walking bouts were held constant (4 steps) and rest intervals were varied (1–10 s). Percent of hand-counted steps and mean absolute percentage error were calculated. One sample t-test was used to compare percent of hand-counted steps to 100%. Results: In Parts 1 and 2, the SWdefault, SWmodified, YX, and AGLhip captured within 10% of hand-counted steps across nearly all conditions. In Part 1, estimates of most methods improved as the number of steps per bout increased. In Part 2, estimates of most methods decreased as the rest duration increased. Conclusion: Most methods required stepping bouts of >6–10 consecutive steps to record steps. Rest intervals of 1–2 seconds were sufficient to break up walking bouts in many methods. The requirement for several consecutive steps in some methods causes an underestimation of steps in brief, intermittent bouts.

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Laura D. Ellingson, Paul R. Hibbing, Gregory J. Welk, Dana Dailey, Barbara A. Rakel, Leslie J. Crofford, Kathleen A. Sluka, and Laura A. Frey-Law

Wrist-worn accelerometers are increasingly used to assess free-living physical activity (PA), but the implications of different processing methods are not well characterized. To advance research in this area it is important to better understand how choice of processing method influences estimates of free-living PA behavior. This study compared PA profiles resulting from processing wrist-worn data collected under free-living conditions using four different methods in a clinical sample of 160 women with chronic pain, a condition for which PA serves as a treatment. Participants wore monitors on their non-dominant wrist for 7 days and completed a self-report PA measure. Processing methods were Hildebrand linear, a modified nonlinear Hildebrand, Staudenmayer linear, and Staudenmayer random forest. Using each method, minutes per day in sedentary, light, and moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA) were estimated and individuals were classified as meeting PA guidelines based on their accumulated MVPA. Comparisons of outcomes among processing methods and with self-reported PA were made using repeated measures ANOVA, correlations, and kappa statistics. With few exceptions, estimated time at each intensity differed significantly across processing methods and with self-report (p < .001). Correlations between methods ranged widely (ρrange = 0.09 to 1.00) and showed inconsistent agreement for classifying individuals as meeting PA guidelines (κrange: −0.02 to 0.90). Thus, choice of processing method significantly influenced conclusions regarding free-living PA. Researchers and clinicians should exercise caution when interpreting accelerometer activity data and comparing across existing studies using different processing methods when examining how PA influences clinical conditions.