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Validation of the GENEA Accelerometer


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: June 2011 - Volume 43 - Issue 6 - p 1085-1093
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31820513be
Applied Sciences

Purpose: The study aims were: 1) to assess the technical reliability and validity of the GENEA using a mechanical shaker; 2) to perform a GENEA value calibration to develop thresholds for sedentary and light-, moderate-, and vigorous-intensity physical activity; and 3) to compare the intensity classification of the GENEA with two widely used accelerometers.

Methods: A total of 47 GENEA accelerometers were attached to a shaker and vertically accelerated, generating 15 conditions of varying acceleration and/or frequency. Reliability was calculated using SD and intrainstrument and interinstrument coefficients of variation, whereas validity was assessed using Pearson correlation with the shaker acceleration as the criterion. Next, 60 adults wore a GENEA on each wrist and on the waist (alongside an ActiGraph and RT3 accelerometer) while completing 10-12 activity tasks. A portable metabolic gas analyzer provided the criterion measure of physical activity. Analyses involved the use of Pearson correlations to establish criterion and concurrent validity and receiver operating characteristic curves to establish intensity cut points.

Results: The GENEA demonstrated excellent technical reliability (CVintra = 1.4%, CVinter = 2.1%) and validity (r = 0.98, P < 0.001) using the mechanical shaker. The GENEA demonstrated excellent criterion validity using V˙O2 as the criterion (left wrist, r = 0.86; right wrist, r = 0.83; waist, r = 0.87), on par with the waist-worn ActiGraph and RT3. The GENEA demonstrated excellent concurrent validity compared with the ActiGraph (r = 0.92) and the RT3 (r = 0.97). The waist-worn GENEA had the greatest classification accuracy (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) = 0.95), followed by the left (AUC = 0.93) and then the right wrist (AUC = 0.90). The accuracy of the waist-worn GENEA was virtually identical with that of the ActiGraph (AUC = 0.94) and RT3 (AUC = 0.95).

Conclusion: The GENEA is a reliable and valid measurement tool capable of classifying the intensity of physical activity in adults.

1School of Sport and Health Sciences, St Luke's Campus, University of Exeter, Exeter, England, UNITED KINGDOM; 2College of Kinesiology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, CANADA; 3Unilever Discover, Colworth, West Sussex, England, UNITED KINGDOM; and 4Institute for Ageing and Health, Newcastle University, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UNITED KINGDOM

Address for correspondence: Dale W. Esliger, Ph.D., College of Kinesiology, 87 Campus Drive, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada S7N 5B2; E-mail:

Submitted for publication December 2009.

Accepted for publication June 2010.

©2011The American College of Sports Medicine