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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2013 Oct;45(10):2012-9. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3182965249.

Classification accuracy of the wrist-worn gravity estimator of normal everyday activity accelerometer.

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1Department of Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport Studies, University of Tennessee, Knoxville TN; 2Department of Kinesiology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA; and 3Department of Mathematics, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA.



The purpose of this study was to determine whether the published left-wrist cut points for the triaxial Gravity Estimator of Normal Everyday Activity (GENEA) accelerometer are accurate for predicting intensity categories during structured activity bouts.


A convenience sample of 130 adults wore a GENEA accelerometer on their left wrist while performing 14 different lifestyle activities. During each activity, oxygen consumption was continuously measured using the Oxycon mobile. Statistical analysis used Spearman's rank correlations to determine the relationship between measured and estimated intensity classifications. Cross tabulations were constructed to show the under- or overestimation of misclassified intensities. One-way χ2 tests were used to determine whether the intensity classification accuracy for each activity differed from 80%.


For all activities, the GENEA accelerometer-based physical activity monitor explained 41.1% of the variance in energy expenditure. The intensity classification accuracy was 69.8% for sedentary activities, 44.9% for light activities, 46.2% for moderate activities, and 77.7% for vigorous activities. The GENEA correctly classified intensity for 52.9% of observations when all activities were examined; this increased to 61.5% with stationary cycling removed.


A wrist-worn triaxial accelerometer has modest-intensity classification accuracy across a broad range of activities when using the cut points of Esliger et al. Although the sensitivity and the specificity are less than those reported by Esliger et al., they are generally in the same range as those reported for waist-worn, uniaxial accelerometer cut points.

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