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J Sports Sci. 2011 Mar;29(6):627-33. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2010.549499.

Validation of MET estimates and step measurement using the ActivPAL physical activity logger.

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Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland.


The purpose of this study was to determine the validity of the metabolic equivalent (MET) equation and step rate function of the ActivPAL™ physical activity logger in a group of females. Using a standard treadmill protocol, 62 females aged 15-25 years walked on a treadmill at speeds between 3.2 and 7.0 km · h(-1) while wearing an ActivPAL. Oxygen consumption was measured using expired gas analysis at each speed and METs for each speed were estimated based on each participant's own resting metabolic rate. A sub-set of 18 participants also wore an Actigraph. Results showed that the in-built equation in the ActivPAL significantly underestimated (P < 0.001) METs under treadmill conditions at higher intensities. The ActivPAL equation is based on step rate yet the relationship between counts and measured METs (r = 0.76; P < 0.001) is stronger than that between steps and measured METs (r = 0.59; P < 0.001). Both the ActivPAL and Actigraph step functions showed no significant difference (P > 0.05) to video recorded step rate except at the slowest walking speed where the Actigraph significantly underestimated steps (P < 0.05). The development of a new equation based on the counts-METs relationship that includes a variety of speeds and activities would be useful. The ActivPAL step function performs better than the Actigraph at the slowest walking speed under treadmill conditions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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