Send to

Choose Destination
Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2015 May;47(5):952-9. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000000497.

Ability of thigh-worn ActiGraph and activPAL monitors to classify posture and motion.

Author information

1Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program, Division of Cancer Prevention, National Cancer Institute, Rockville, MD; 2Risk Factor Monitoring and Methods Branch, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer Institute, Rockville, MD; 3Biometry Research Group, Division of Cancer Prevention, National Cancer Institute, Rockville, MD; and 4Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Obesity Branch, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Bethesda, MD.



This study compared sitting, standing, and stepping classifications from thigh-worn ActiGraph and activPAL monitors under laboratory and free-living conditions.


Adults wore both monitors on the right thigh while performing activities (six sitting, two standing, nine stepping, and one cycling) and writing on a whiteboard with intermittent stepping under laboratory conditions (n = 21) and under free-living conditions for 3 d (n = 18). Percent time correctly classified was calculated under laboratory conditions. Between-monitor agreement and weighted κ were calculated under free-living conditions.


In the laboratory, both monitors correctly classified 100% of standing time and >95% of the time spent in four of six sitting postures. Both monitors demonstrated misclassification of laboratory stool sitting time (ActiGraph 14% vs. activPAL 95%). ActivPAL misclassified 14% of the time spent sitting with legs outstretched; ActiGraph was 100% accurate. Monitors were >95% accurate for stepping, although ActiGraph was less so for descending stairs (86%), ascending stairs (92%), and running at 2.91 m·s(-1) (93%). Monitors classified whiteboard writing differently (ActiGraph 83% standing/15% stepping vs. activPAL 98% standing/2% stepping). ActivPAL classified 93% of cycling time as stepping, whereas ActiGraph classified <1% of cycling time as stepping. During free-living wear, monitors had substantial agreement (86% observed; weighted κ = 0.77). Monitors classified similar amounts of time as sitting (ActiGraph 64% vs. activPAL 62%). There were differences in time recorded as standing (ActiGraph 21% vs. activPAL 27%) and stepping (ActiGraph 15% vs. activPAL 11%).


Differences in data processing algorithms may have resulted in the observed disagreement in posture and activity classification between thigh-worn ActiGraph and activPAL. Despite between-monitor agreement in classifying sitting time under free-living conditions, ActiGraph appears to be more sensitive to free-living upright walking motions than activPAL.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wolters Kluwer Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center