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PLoS One. 2014 Nov 4;9(11):e111205. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0111205. eCollection 2014.

From sedentary time to sedentary patterns: accelerometer data reduction decisions in youth.

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Department of Public and Occupational Health and the EM GO Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Science Support, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Department of Movement and Sport Science, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium.
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



This study aims to establish evidence-based accelerometer data reduction criteria to accurately assess total sedentary time and sedentary patterns in children.


Participants (n = 1057 European children; 9-13 yrs) were invited to wear an accelerometer for at least 6 consecutive days. We explored 1) non-wear time criteria; 2) minimum daily valid wear time; 3) differences between weekday and weekend day; and 4) minimum number of days of accelerometer wear by comparing the effects of commonly used data reduction decisions on total sedentary time, and duration and number of prolonged sedentary bouts.


More than 60 consecutive minutes of zero counts was the optimal criterion for non-wear time. Increasing the definition of a valid day from 8 to 10 hours wear time hardly influenced the sedentary outcomes, while the sample size of children with more than 4 valid days increased from 69 to 81%. On weekdays, children had on average 1 hour more wear time, 50 minutes more total sedentary time, 26 minutes more sedentary time accumulated in bouts, and 1 more sedentary bout. At least 6 days of accelerometer data were needed to accurately represent weekly sedentary time and patterns.


Based on our results we recommend 1) a minimum of 60 minutes of consecutive zeros as the most realistic criterion for non-wear time; and 2) including at least six days with minimum eight valid hours to characterize children's usual total sedentary time and patterns, preferably including one weekend day.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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