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Pediatr Exerc Sci. 2018 Nov 1;30(4):450-456. doi: 10.1123/pes.2018-0201. Epub 2018 Oct 11.

Moving Forward With Accelerometer-Assessed Physical Activity: Two Strategies to Ensure Meaningful, Interpretable, and Comparable Measures.

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1 University of Leicester.
2 NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Centre.
3 University of South Australia.


Significant advances have been made in the measurement of physical activity in youth over the past decade. Monitors and protocols promote very high compliance, both night and day, and raw measures are available rather than "black box" counts. Consequently, many surveys and studies worldwide now assess children's physical behaviors (physical activity, sedentary behavior, and sleep) objectively 24 hours a day, 7 days a week using accelerometers. The availability of raw acceleration data in many of these studies is both an opportunity and a challenge. The richness of the data lends itself to the continued development of innovative metrics, whereas the removal of proprietary outcomes offers considerable potential for comparability between data sets and harmonizing data. Using comparable physical activity outcomes could lead to improved precision and generalizability of recommendations for children's present and future health. The author will discuss 2 strategies that he believes may help ensure comparability between studies and maximize the potential for data harmonization, thereby helping to capitalize on the growing body of accelerometer data describing children's physical behaviors.


children; physical behaviors; raw acceleration; wrist-worn


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