Influence of accelerometer type and placement on physical activity energy expenditure prediction in manual wheelchair users

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Purpose:To assess the validity of two accelerometer devices, at two different anatomical locations, for the prediction of physical activity energy expenditure (PAEE) in manual wheelchair users (MWUs).MethodsSeventeen MWUs (36 ± 10 yrs, 72 ± 11 kg) completed ten activities; resting, folding clothes, propulsion on a 1% gradient (3,4,5,6 and 7 km·hr-1) and propulsion at 4km·hr-1 (with an additional 8% body mass, 2% and 3% gradient) on a motorised wheelchair treadmill. GT3X+ and GENEActiv accelerometers were worn on the right wrist (W) and upper arm (UA). Linear regression analysis was conducted between outputs from each accelerometer and criterion PAEE, measured using indirect calorimetry. Subsequent error statistics were calculated for the derived regression equations for all four device/location combinations, using a leave-one-out cross-validation analysis.ResultsAccelerometer outputs at each anatomical location were significantly (p < .01) associated with PAEE (GT3X+-UA; r = 0.68 and GT3X+-W; r = 0.82. GENEActiv-UA; r = 0.87 and GENEActiv-W; r = 0.88). Mean ± SD PAEE estimation errors for all activities combined were 15 ± 45%, 14 ± 50%, 3 ± 25% and 4 ± 26% for GT3X+-UA, GT3X+-W, GENEActiv-UA and GENEActiv-W, respectively. Absolute PAEE estimation errors for devices varied, 19 to 66% for GT3X+-UA, 17 to 122% for GT3X+-W, 15 to 26% for GENEActiv-UA and from 17.0 to 32% for the GENEActiv-W.ConclusionThe results indicate that the GENEActiv device worn on either the upper arm or wrist provides the most valid prediction of PAEE in MWUs. Variation in error statistics between the two devices is a result of inherent differences in internal components, on-board filtering processes and outputs of each device.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0126086
Pages (from-to)1 - 15
Number of pages15
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5
Early online date8 May 2015
Publication statusPublished - May 2015


  • accelerometer
  • linear regression analysis
  • Physical Activity


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