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Accelerometer Use in Physical Activity: Best Practices and Research Recommendations

WARD, DIANNE S.1; EVENSON, KELLY R.1; VAUGHN, AMBER1; RODGERS, ANNE BROWN2; TROIANO, RICHARD P.3

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: November 2005 - Volume 37 - Issue 11 - pp S582-S588
doi: 10.1249/01.mss.0000185292.71933.91
Objective Monitoring of Physical Activity: Closing the Gaps in the Science of Accelerometry

Researchers are increasingly interested in the potential of accelerometers to improve our ability to measure and understand the health impacts of physical activity. Although accelerometers have been available commercially for more than 25 yr, broad consensus about how to use these tools has not been established. At a scientific conference in December 2004, a number of scientists were invited to present papers, serve as reactors or moderators to papers, present posters of original research, or serve as members of an audience knowledgeable about the use of accelerometers. During 2½ d, information about best practices of accelerometer use was presented and suggestions for future research were made. From the collective experience of papers presented and discussions held, five areas of accelerometer use were described. This paper summarizes the best practices and future research needs from those five areas: monitor selection, quality, and dependability; monitor use protocols; monitor calibration; analysis of accelerometer data; and integration with other data sources. Suggestions for reporting standards for journal articles also are presented.

1University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC; 2Falls Church, VA; and 3National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD

Address for correspondence: Dianne S. Ward, Ed.D., Department of Nutrition, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 4107 McGavran-Greenberg, CB #7461, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7461; E-mail: dsward@email.unc.edu.

© 2005 American College of Sports Medicine