Overweight children show different movement patterns during walking than normal-weight children, suggesting the accuracy of multisensory activity monitors may differ in these groups.
Eleven normal and 15 high BMI African American children walked at 2, 4, 5, and 6 km/h on a treadmill wearing the Intelligent Device for Energy Expenditure and Activity (IDEEA) and SenseWear (SW). Accuracy was determined using indirect calorimetry and manually counted steps as references.
For IDEEA, no significant differences in accuracy were observed between BMI groups for energy expenditure (EE), but differences were significant by speed (+15% at 2 km/h to −10% at 6 km/h). For SW, EE accuracy was significantly different for high (+21%) versus normal BMI girls (−13%) at 2 km/h. For high BMI girls, EE was overestimated at low speed and underestimated at higher speeds. Underestimations in steps did not differ by BMI group at 4 to 6 km/h, but were significantly larger at 2 km/h than at the other speeds for all groups with IDEEA, and for normal BMI children with SW.
Similar accuracies during walking may be expected in normal and overweight children using IDEEA and SW. Both monitors showed small errors for steps provided speed exceeded 2 km/h.