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Responsiveness of motion sensors to detect change in sedentary and physical activity behaviour
  1. Ann M Swartz1,2,
  2. Aubrianne E Rote3,
  3. Young Ik Cho2,4,
  4. Whitney A Welch1,
  5. Scott J Strath1,2
  1. 1Department of Kinesiology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
  2. 2Center on Aging and Translational Research, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
  3. 3Department of Health and Wellness, University of North Carolina-Asheville, Asheville, North Carolina, USA
  4. 4Zilber School of Public Health, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
  1. Correspondence to Professor Ann M Swartz, Department of Kinesiology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, PO Box 413, Milwaukee, WI 53201-0413, USA; aswartz{at}


Background The purpose of this study was to determine the responsiveness of two motion sensors to detect change in sedentary behaviour (SB) and physical activity (PA) during an occupational intervention to reduce sitting time.

Methods SB and PA were assessed using a hip-worn Actigraph GTX3 (AG) and a thigh-worn activPAL (AP) during three consecutive workdays throughout baseline and intervention periods. Mean scores at baseline and intervention were estimated by hierarchical linear models (HLM) with robust SEs, adjusting for random variance of average scores between participants. Change scores (mean baseline minus mean intervention) were calculated for each device. Response to change was assessed for each device using the standardised response mean.

Results 67 adults (45±11 years; 29.3±7.7 kg/m2) wore the acceleration-based motion sensors for 8.3 (SD=1.2) and 8.3 (SD=1.1) h during the baseline and intervention periods, respectively. HLM showed that AP sitting/lying time (−16.5 min, −5%), AP stepping (+7.5 min, 19%), AP steps/day (+838 steps/day, +22%), AP sit-to-stand transitions (+3, +10%), AG SB (−14.6 min, −4%), AG lifestyle moderate-intensity PA (LMPA, +4 min, +15%) and AG MPA (+3 min, 23%) changed significantly between the baseline and the intervention period. Standardised response means for AP sitting/lying time, stepping, steps/day, sit-to-stand transitions and AG SB, LMPA and MPA were above 0.3, indicating a small but similar responsiveness to change.

Conclusions Responsiveness to change in SB and PA was similar and comparable for the AP and AG, indicating agreement across both measurement devices.

  • Physical activity and exercise methodology
  • Physical activity measurement

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