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BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation

, 7:24

First Online: 12 October 2015Received: 28 April 2015Accepted: 05 October 2015


BackgroundActivity trackers can potentially stimulate users to increase their physical activity behavior. The aim of this study was to examine the reliability and validity of ten consumer activity trackers for measuring step count in both laboratory and free-living conditions.

MethodHealthy adult volunteers n = 33 walked twice on a treadmill 4.8 km-h for 30 min while wearing ten different activity trackers i.e. Lumoback, Fitbit Flex, Jawbone Up, Nike+ Fuelband SE, Misfit Shine, Withings Pulse, Fitbit Zip, Omron HJ-203, Yamax Digiwalker SW-200 and Moves mobile application. In free-living conditions, 56 volunteers wore the same activity trackers for one working day. Test-retest reliability was analyzed with the Intraclass Correlation Coefficient ICC. Validity was evaluated by comparing each tracker with the gold standard Optogait system for laboratory and ActivPAL for free-living conditions, using paired samples t-tests, mean absolute percentage errors, correlations and Bland-Altman plots.

ResultsTest-retest analysis revealed high reliability for most trackers except for the Omron ICC .14, Moves app ICC .37 and Nike+ Fuelband ICC .53. The mean absolute percentage errors of the trackers in laboratory and free-living conditions respectively, were: Lumoback −0.2, −0.4, Fibit Flex −5.7, 3.7, Jawbone Up −1.0, 1.4, Nike+ Fuelband −18, −24, Misfit Shine 0.2, 1.1, Withings Pulse −0.5, −7.9, Fitbit Zip −0.3, 1.2, Omron 2.5, −0.4, Digiwalker −1.2, −5.9, and Moves app 9.6, −37.6. Bland-Altman plots demonstrated that the limits of agreement varied from 46 steps Fitbit Zip to 2422 steps Nike+ Fuelband in the laboratory condition, and 866 steps Fitbit Zip to 5150 steps Moves app in the free-living condition.

ConclusionThe reliability and validity of most trackers for measuring step count is good. The Fitbit Zip is the most valid whereas the reliability and validity of the Nike+ Fuelband is low.

KeywordsAccelerometry Activity trackers Validation study Reliability Free-living AbbreviationsEEEnergy expenditure

METMetabolic equivalent

BMIBody mass index

km-hKilometers per hour

MAPEMean absolute percentage error

ICCIntraclass correlation coefficient

CIConfidence interval

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Autor: Thea J. M. Kooiman - Manon L. Dontje - Siska R. Sprenger - Wim P. Krijnen - Cees P. van der Schans - Martijn de Groot


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