Calibration and comparison of accelerometer cut points in preschool children

Van Cauwenberghe, Eveline, Labarque, Valery, Trost, Stewart G., De Bourdeaudhuij, Ilse M., & Cardon, Greet (2011) Calibration and comparison of accelerometer cut points in preschool children. International Journal of Pediatric Obesity, 6(2-2), e582-e589.

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The present study aimed to develop accelerometer cut points to classify physical activities (PA) by intensity in preschoolers and to investigate discrepancies in PA levels when applying various accelerometer cut points.


To calibrate the accelerometer, 18 preschoolers (5.8 +/- 0.4 years) performed eleven structured activities and one free play session while wearing a GT1M ActiGraph accelerometer using 15 s epochs. The structured activities were chosen based on the direct observation system Children's Activity Rating Scale (CARS) while the criterion measure of PA intensity during free play was provided using a second-by-second observation protocol (modified CARS). Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) curve analyses were used to determine the accelerometer cut points. To examine the classification differences, accelerometer data of four consecutive days from 114 preschoolers (5.5 +/- 0.3 years) were classified by intensity according to previously published and the newly developed accelerometer cut points. Differences in predicted PA levels were evaluated using repeated measures ANOVA and Chi Square test.


Cut points were identified at 373 counts/15 s for light (sensitivity: 86%; specificity: 91%; Area under ROC curve: 0.95), 585 counts/15 s for moderate (87%; 82%; 0.91) and 881 counts/15 s for vigorous PA (88%; 91%; 0.94). Further, applying various accelerometer cut points to the same data resulted in statistically and biologically significant differences in PA.


Accelerometer cut points were developed with good discriminatory power for differentiating between PA levels in preschoolers and the choice of accelerometer cut points can result in large discrepancies.

Impact and interest:

55 citations in Scopus
41 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 72206
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: ISI Document Delivery No.: 791YA
Times Cited: 21
Cited Reference Count: 35
Van Cauwenberghe, Eveline Labarque, Valery Trost, Stewart G. De Bourdeaudhuij, Ilse Cardon, Greet
Research Foundation Flanders [FWOB/10525/01]; Flemish Ministry of Economics, Science and Innovation; FWO; PWO-grant
The present study was financially supported by grants from the Research Foundation Flanders (FWOB/10525/01) and by a PWO-grant of HUBrussel from the Flemish Ministry of Economics, Science and Innovation. Eveline Van Cauwenberghe is a recipient of a PhD-scholarship from FWO and Valery Labarque a recipient of a PWO-grant.
Informa healthcare
London; <Go to ISI>://WOS:000292704500071
Keywords: Weights and measures, motor activity, child, preschool, calibration, ROC, curve, bias (epidemiology), physical-activity, sedentary behavior, overweight, prevalence, validation, childhood, obesity
DOI: 10.3109/17477166.2010.526223
ISSN: 1747-7166
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Deposited On: 29 May 2014 00:38
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2017 13:01

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