A Semi-Quantitative Method to Denote Generic Physical Activity Phenotypes from Long-Term Accelerometer Data – The ATLAS IndexReport as inadecuate

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Physical activity is inversely correlated to morbidity and mortality risk. Large cohort studies use wearable accelerometer devices to measure physical activity objectively, providing data potentially relevant to identify different activity patterns and to correlate these to health-related outcome measures. A method to compute relevant characteristics of such data not only with regard to duration and intensity, but also to regularity of activity events, is necessary. The aims of this paper are to propose a new method – the ATLAS index Activity Types from Long-term Accelerometric Sensor data – to derive generic measures for distinguishing different characteristic activity phenotypes from accelerometer data, to propose a comprehensive graphical representation, and to conduct a proof-of-concept with long-term measurements from different devices and cohorts.


The ATLAS index consists of the three dimensions regularity reg, duration dur and intensity int of relevant activity events identified in long-term accelerometer data. It can be regarded as a 3D vector and represented in a 3D cube graph. 12 exemplary data sets of three different cohort studies with 99,467 minutes of data were chosen for concept validation.


Five archetypical activity types are proposed along with their dimensional characteristics insufficiently active: low reg, int and dur; busy bee: low dur and int, high reg; cardio-active: medium reg, int and dur, endurance athlete: high reg, int and dur; and weekend warrior: high int and dur, low reg. The data sets are displayed in one common graph, indicating characteristic differences in activity patterns.


The ATLAS index incorporates the relevant regularity dimension apart from the widely-used measures of duration and intensity. Along with the 3D representation, it allows to compare different activity types in cohort study populations, both visually and computationally using vector distance measures. Further research is necessary to validate the ATLAS index in order to find normative values and group centroids.

Author: Michael Marschollek

Source: http://plos.srce.hr/


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