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Accelerometry and Heart Rate as a Measure of Physical Fitness: Cross-Validation


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: August 2006 - Volume 38 - Issue 8 - p 1510-1514
doi: 10.1249/01.mss.0000228942.55152.84
APPLIED SCIENCES: Physical Fitness and Performance

Purpose: We recently reported on a new method to assess physical fitness, based on the combined use of accelerometry and heart rate (HR) registration. This study tested the validity of the prediction formula in a group of healthy young adults.

Methods: Twenty-six healthy subjects performed a maximal incremental test on a bicycle ergometer to determine VO2max. A triaxial accelerometer and a HR monitor were worn for 7 d under free-living conditions. The prediction formula developed in a previous experimental group (EXP) was applied on the cross-validation group (CV).

Results: No difference was found in subjects' characteristics between the EXP and CV groups except for accelerometer output (activity counts). Although measured VO2max could be predicted for 80% (P < 0.0001), a paired t-test showed a significant difference between measured and predicted VO2max (178 mL·min−1; P = 0.015). Because of the difference in activity between the EXP and the CV groups, all data were combined and sorted according to activity counts, then two new groups were formed. As a result, EXP and CV groups were created that did not significantly differ in activity or any other parameters. The formula developed in the new experimental group (R2 = 0.74; P < 0.0001) explained 72% (P < 0.0001) of the variation in VO2max in the cross-validation group, a paired t-test showed no difference between measured and predicted VO2max, and Bland-Altman plotting showed no systematic bias.

Conclusion: Although a good correlation was seen between measured and predicted VO2max in the cross-validation group, care should be taken in applying the prediction formula on groups that differ in physical activity from the current study population.

Department of Human Biology, Maastricht University, THE NETHERLANDS

Address for correspondence: Guy Plasqui, Department of Human Biology, Maastricht University, PO Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands; E-mail:

Submitted for publication February 2005.

Accepted for publication March 2006.

©2006The American College of Sports Medicine