Validation of accelerometer for measuring physical activity in free-living individuals

George O. Agogo*, Hilko Van Der Voet, Paul J.M. Hulshof, Laura Trijsburg, Fred A. Van Eeuwijk, Hendriek C. Boshuizen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: The aim of this research was to validate a triaxial GT3X accelerometer against double labelled water for measuring total energy expenditure (TEE) in a study of free-living Dutch adults and to compare the two prediction equations used to calculate accelerometerderived activity related energy expenditure. Material/Methods: We used a measurement error model to estimate bias in the mean TEE, a correlation coefficient between measured and true TEE (a validity coefficient, which quantifies loss of statistical power to detect association) and the attenuation factor (which quantifies bias in the association), with and without conditioning on age, sex and BMI. We proposed a calibration method for the accelerometer-based TEE.
Results: The accelerometer underestimated TEE by about 500kcal/day. The validity coëfficiënt estimate conditional on age, sex and BMI was 0.8; the same value was observed for the attenuation factor estimate. With the devised calibration method, the bias in accelerometerderived mean TEE reduced to 6 kcal/day, validity coefficient estimate increased to 0.95 and attenuation factor to 0.94.
Conclusions: The GT3X accelerometer would underestimate mean TEE, lead to minimal loss in statistical power to detect significant association, and would result in biased estimate of the association between TEE and a health outcome.
Key words: attenuation, measurement error, physical activity, activity energy expenditure, validity coefficient.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-21
JournalBaltic Journal of Health and Physical Activity
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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