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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Linking Foods, Behavior and Metabolism to Promote a Healthy Body Weight

Location: Obesity and Metabolism Research Unit

Title: A feasibility study of wearable activity monitors for pre-adolescent school-aged children

Authors
item Schaefer, Sara -
item Van Loan, Marta
item German, J Bruce -

Submitted to: Preventing Chronic Disease
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 1, 2014
Publication Date: May 22, 2014
Citation: Schaefer, S.E., Van Loan, M.D., German, J. 2014. A feasibility study of wearable activity monitors for pre-adolescent school-aged children. Preventing Chronic Disease. doi: 10.5888/pcd11.130262.

Interpretive Summary: Understaing physical activity is key in the fight against childhood obesity. The objective of this study was to examine the feasibility of using certain wearable devices to measure physical activity among children. A qualitative study was conducted with 25 children aged 7 to 10 years to assess acceptability and compliance of wearable activity devices in this age group. During March through August 2012, children participated in a 4-week study of 3 accelerometer models and a heart rate monitor. Children were asked to use different devices each week for 7 consecutive days. Children and their parents completed structured interviews after using each device; they also completed final exit interviews. The wrist-worn POlar Active was the device most preferred by children and was associated with the highest level of compliance. Devices that are comfortable to wear, fit properly,have engaging features, and are waterproof increase feasibility and are associated with higher levels of compliance. The wrist-worn device was the most feasible for measuring physical activity among children aged 7 to 10 years. These findings will inform researchers in selecting tools for measuring children's physical activity.

Technical Abstract: Understanding physical activity is key in the fight against childhood obesity. The objective of this study was to examine the feasibility of using certain wearable devices to measure physical activity among children. A qualitative study was conducted with 25 children aged 7 to 10 years to assess acceptability aqnd compliance of wearable activity devices in this age group. During March through August 2012, children participated in a 4 week study of 3 accelerometer models and a heart rate monitor. Children were asked to use a different device each week for 7 consecutive days. Children and their parents completed structured interviews after using each device; they also completed a final exit interview. The wrist-worn Polas Active was the device most preferred by children and was associated with the highest level of compliance. Devices that are comfortable to wear, fit properly, have engaging features, and are waterproof increase feasibility and are associated with higher levels of compliance. The wrist-worn device was the most feasibile for measuring physical activity amoing children aged 7 to 10 years. These findings will inform researchers in selecting tools for measuring children's physical activity.

Last Modified: 12/25/2014
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