Comparison of accelerometer cut points for predicting activity intensity in youth

Trost, Stewart G., Loprinzi, Paul D., Moore, Rebecca A., & Pfeiffer, Karen A. (2011) Comparison of accelerometer cut points for predicting activity intensity in youth. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 43(7), pp. 1360-1368.

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The absence of comparative validity studies has prevented researchers from reaching consensus regarding the application of intensity-related accelerometer cut points for children and adolescents.


This study aimed to evaluate the classification accuracy of five sets of independently developed ActiGraph cut points using energy expenditure, measured by indirect calorimetry, as a criterion reference standard.


A total of 206 participants between the ages of 5 and 15 yr completed 12 standardized activity trials. Trials consisted of sedentary activities (lying down, writing, computer game), lifestyle activities (sweeping, laundry, throw and catch, aerobics, basketball), and ambulatory activities (comfortable walk, brisk walk, brisk treadmill walk, running). During each trial, participants wore an ActiGraph GT1M, and VO 2 was measured breath-by-breath using the Oxycon Mobile portable metabolic system. Physical activity intensity was estimated using five independently developed cut points: Freedson/Trost (FT), Puyau (PU), Treuth (TR), Mattocks (MT), and Evenson (EV). Classification accuracy was evaluated via weighted κ statistics and area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (ROC-AUC).


Across all four intensity levels, the EV (κ = 0.68) and FT (κ = 0.66) cut points exhibited significantly better agreement than TR (κ = 0.62), MT (κ = 0.54), and PU (κ = 0.36). The EV and FT cut points exhibited significantly better classification accuracy for moderate-to vigorous-intensity physical activity (ROC-AUC = 0.90) than TR, PU, or MT cut points (ROC-AUC = 0.77-0.85). Only the EV cut points provided acceptable classification accuracy for all four levels of physical activity intensity and performed well among children of all ages. The widely applied sedentary cut point of 100 counts per minute exhibited excellent classification accuracy (ROC-AUC = 0.90).


On the basis of these findings, we recommend that researchers use the EV ActiGraph cut points to estimate time spent in sedentary, light-, moderate-, and vigorous-intensity activity in children and adolescents. Copyright © 2011 by the American College of Sports Medicine.

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ID Code: 71968
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: Cited By (since 1996):162
Export Date: 12 May 2014
Source: Scopus
PubMed ID: 21131873
Additional URLs:
Keywords: ACTIGRAPH, ADOLESCENTS, CHILDREN, EXERCISE, OBJECTIVE ASSESSMENT, VALIDITY, acceleration, adolescent, ambulatory monitoring, article, calorimetry, child, clinical trial, controlled clinical trial, controlled study, energy metabolism, female, human, instrumentation, male, methodology, motor activity, oxygen consumption, physiology, preschool child, sedentary lifestyle, sport, Calorimetry, Indirect, Child, Preschool, Humans, Monitoring, Ambulatory, Sports
DOI: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e318206476e
ISSN: 0195-9131
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Deposited On: 22 May 2014 03:31
Last Modified: 26 May 2014 00:30

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