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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2004 May;36(5):897-904.

Evaluation of the SenseWear Pro Armband to assess energy expenditure during exercise.

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  • 1Physical Activity and Weight Management Research Center, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA.



To assess the accuracy of the SenseWear Pro Armband for estimating energy expenditure during exercise.


: Forty subjects (age = 23.2 +/- 3.8 yr; body mass index = 23.8 +/- 3.1 kg x m) performed four exercises (walking, cycling, stepping, arm ergometry) with each exercise lasting 20-30 min and workload increasing at 10-min intervals. Subjects wore the SenseWear Pro Armband on the right arm, and energy expenditure was estimated using proprietary equations developed by the manufacturer. Estimated energy expenditure from the SenseWear Pro Armband was compared with energy expenditure determined from indirect open-circuit calorimetry, which served as the criterion measure.


: When a generalized proprietary algorithm was applied to the data, the SenseWear Pro Armband significantly underestimated total energy expenditure by 14.9 +/- 17.5 kcal (6.9 +/- 8.5%) during walking exercise, 32.4 +/- 18.8 kcal (28.9 +/- 13.5%) during cycle ergometry, 28.2 +/- 20.3 kcal (17.7 +/- 11.8%) during stepping exercise, and overestimated total energy expenditure by 21.7 +/- 8.7 kcal (29.3 +/- 13.8%) during arm ergometer exercise (P < or = 0.001). At the request of the investigators, exercise-specific algorithms were developed by the manufacturer and applied to the data that resulted in nonsignificant differences in total energy expenditure between indirect calorimetry and the SenseWear Pro Armband of 4.6 +/- 18.1 kcal (2.8 +/- 9.4%), 0.3 +/- 11.3 kcal (0.9 +/- 10.7%), 2.5 +/- 18.3 kcal (0.9 +/- 11.9%), and 3.2 +/- 8.1 kcal (3.8 +/- 9.9%) for the walk, cycle ergometer, step, and arm ergometer exercises, respectively.


It appears that it is necessary to apply exercise-specific algorithms to the SenseWear Pro Armband to enhance the accuracy of estimating energy expenditure during periods of exercise. When exercise-specific algorithms are used, the SenseWear Pro Armband provides an accurate estimate of energy expenditure when compared to indirect calorimetry during exercise periods examined in this study.

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