Sedentary behavior (SB) contributes to many negative health-related outcomes. Motivation to reduce SB and increase physical activity (PA) are necessary to reduce co-morbidities. Tracking SB and PA provides objective data to help promote wellness. The purposes of this quasi-experimental study were to 1) determine the accuracy of three commercially available activity trackers compared to research-grade accelerometers, and 2) explore whether using these activity trackers led to a change in activity level one week after gathering baseline data. Activity trackers used in this study were Apple Watch, Fitbit Surge, and Microsoft Band 2. A convenience sample of college-age students and community members wore the research-grade ActiGraph 3GTX+ accelerometer on the non-dominant wrist for one week. Participants returned and the activity tracker was added to the non-dominant wrist with the ActiGraph 3GTX+ for another week. All activity trackers significantly differed from the ActiGraph accelerometers. Fitbit Surge had a significant regression equation that could adjust for this difference, but not Apple Watch or Microsoft Band 2. Participants had below average sedentary time, exhibiting 288.4 min/day (SD 100.7) of SB. They also surpassed United States PA standards, averaging 130.3 (SD 48.8) min/day of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. Few significant changes in activity level transpired between week 1 and week 2. In a group that already has low SB and high PA, activity trackers do not seem to make an impact on activity levels. Further testing is required to determine if activity trackers are motivating to reduce SB and increase PA in groups with different activity profiles.
College and Department
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Wimmer, Jodi B., "Validation of Activity Trackers in a Daily Living Setting in Young Adults" (2020). Theses and Dissertations. 8652.
activity tracker, sedentary behavior, accelerometer, Actigraph, physical activity