Young Peoples Views on Accelerometer Use in Physical Activity Research: Findings from a User Involvement InvestigationReport as inadecuate

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ISRN ObesityVolume 2012 2012, Article ID 948504, 7 pages

Research Article

Division of Health Sciences, Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK

MCRN User Involvement, Birmingham Children-s Hospital, Birmingham B4 6NH, UK

Received 10 October 2012; Accepted 27 October 2012

Academic Editors: O. M. S. Amancio, S. Weitzman, and M. A. White

Copyright © 2012 Joanna Kirby et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The use of accelerometers to objectively measure physical activity is important in understanding young people-s behaviours, as physical activity plays a key part in obesity prevention and treatment. A user-involvement qualitative study with young people aged 7–18 years was carried out to investigate views on accelerometer use to inform an obesity treatment research study. First impressions were often negative, with issues related to size and comfort reported. Unwanted attention from wearing an accelerometer and bullying risk were also noted. Other disadvantages included feeling embarrassed and not being able to wear the device for certain activities. Positive aspects included feeling “special” and having increased attention from friends. Views on the best time to wear accelerometers were mixed. Advice was offered on how to make accelerometers more appealing, including presenting them in a positive way, using a clip rather than elastic belt to attach, personalising the device, and having feedback on activity levels. Judgements over the way in which accelerometers are used should be made at the study development stage and based on the individual population. In particular, introducing accelerometers in a clear and positive way is important. Including a trial wearing period, considering practical issues, and providing incentives may help increase compliance.

Author: Joanna Kirby, Carly Tibbins, Claire Callens, Beckie Lang, Margaret Thorogood, William Tigbe, and Wendy Robertson



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