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Accelerometer Use with Children, Older Adults, and Adults with Functional Limitations


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: January 2012 - Volume 44 - Issue 1S - p S77–S85
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3182399eb1
Original Articles

ABSTRACT Accurately assessing physical activity behavior in children, older adults, and adults with functional limitations is essential to further our understanding of determinants of physical activity behavior in these populations and to design, implement, and evaluate interventions designed to increase physical activity participation. Objective methods to assess physical activity behavior, owing to improvements in accuracy and precision over self-report measures, have become common in research and practice settings. This article reviews the current use of objective methods to assess physical activity in observational, determinant, and intervention studies for children, older adults, and adults with functional limitations. Important considerations are presented when adopting prediction algorithms developed on one population, and using in another population that is markedly different in age, health, and functional status. Best practices are presented, along with future recommendations for research to advance this area of scientific inquiry.

1University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI; 2Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI; and 3Gramercy Research Group, Winston-Salem, NC

Address for correspondence: Scott J. Strath, Ph.D., Department of Human Movement Sciences, The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Enderis Hall Room 449, PO Box 413, Milwaukee, WI 53201-0413; E-mail:

©2012The American College of Sports Medicine