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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2013 Nov 1;115(9):1229-36. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.01443.2012. Epub 2013 Aug 29.

Neural network versus activity-specific prediction equations for energy expenditure estimation in children.

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  • 1Swiss Federal Institute of Sport, Magglingen, Switzerland;


The aim of this study was to compare the energy expenditure (EE) estimations of activity-specific prediction equations (ASPE) and of an artificial neural network (ANNEE) based on accelerometry with measured EE. Forty-three children (age: 9.8 ± 2.4 yr) performed eight different activities. They were equipped with one tri-axial accelerometer that collected data in 1-s epochs and a portable gas analyzer. The ASPE and the ANNEE were trained to estimate the EE by including accelerometry, age, gender, and weight of the participants. To provide the activity-specific information, a decision tree was trained to recognize the type of activity through accelerometer data. The ASPE were applied to the activity-type-specific data recognized by the tree (Tree-ASPE). The Tree-ASPE precisely estimated the EE of all activities except cycling [bias: -1.13 ± 1.33 metabolic equivalent (MET)] and walking (bias: 0.29 ± 0.64 MET; P < 0.05). The ANNEE overestimated the EE of stationary activities (bias: 0.31 ± 0.47 MET) and walking (bias: 0.61 ± 0.72 MET) and underestimated the EE of cycling (bias: -0.90 ± 1.18 MET; P < 0.05). Biases of EE in stationary activities (ANNEE: 0.31 ± 0.47 MET, Tree-ASPE: 0.08 ± 0.21 MET) and walking (ANNEE 0.61 ± 0.72 MET, Tree-ASPE: 0.29 ± 0.64 MET) were significantly smaller in the Tree-ASPE than in the ANNEE (P < 0.05). The Tree-ASPE was more precise in estimating the EE than the ANNEE. The use of activity-type-specific information for subsequent EE prediction equations might be a promising approach for future studies.


accelerometer; automated pattern recognition; child; energy metabolism; physical activity

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