Accelerometers have become one of the most common methods of measuring physical activity (PA). Thus, validity of accelerometer data reduction approaches remains an important research area. Yet, few studies directly compare data reduction approaches and other PA measures in free-living samples.
To compare PA estimates provided by 3 accelerometer data reduction approaches, steps, and 2 self-reported estimates: Crouter’s 2-regression model, Crouter’s refined 2-regression model, the weighted cut-point method adopted in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES; 2003–2004 and 2005–2006 cycles), steps, IPAQ, and 7-day PA recall.
A worksite sample (N = 87) completed online-surveys and wore ActiGraph GT1M accelerometers and pedometers (SW-200) during waking hours for 7 consecutive days. Daily time spent in sedentary, light, moderate, and vigorous intensity activity and percentage of participants meeting PA recommendations were calculated and compared.
Crouter’s 2-regression (161.8 ± 52.3 minutes/day) and refined 2-regression (137.6 ± 40.3 minutes/day) models provided significantly higher estimates of moderate and vigorous PA and proportions of those meeting PA recommendations (91% and 92%, respectively) as compared with the NHANES weighted cut-point method (39.5 ± 20.2 minutes/day, 18%). Differences between other measures were also significant.
When comparing 3 accelerometer cut-point methods, steps, and self-report measures, estimates of PA participation vary substantially.