Cross-sectional survey on researchers' experience in using accelerometers in health-related studies

Albrecht BM, Flasskamp FT, Koster A, Eskofier B, Bammann K (2022)

Publication Type: Journal article

Publication year: 2022


Book Volume: 8

Journal Issue: 2

DOI: 10.1136/bmjsem-2021-001286


Objectives Accelerometers are widely applied in health studies, but lack of standardisation regarding device placement, sampling and data processing hampers comparability between studies. The objectives of this study were to assess how accelerometers are applied in health-related research and problems with accelerometer hardware and software encountered by researchers. Methods Researchers applying accelerometry in a health context were invited to a cross-sectional web-based survey (August 2020-September 2020). The questionnaire included quantitative questions regarding the application of accelerometers and qualitative questions on encountered hardware and software problems. Descriptive statistics were calculated for quantitative data and content analysis was applied to qualitative data. Results In total, 116 health researchers were included in the study (response: 13.7%). The most used brand was ActiGraph (67.2%). Independently of brand, the main reason for choosing a device was that it was the standard in the field (57.1%-83.3%). In children and adolescent populations, sampling frequency was higher (mean: 73.3 Hz +/- 29.9 Hz vs 47.6 Hz +/- 29.4 Hz) and epoch length (15.0s +/- 15.6s vs 30.1s +/- 25.9s) and non-wear time (42.9 min +/- 23.7 min vs 65.3 min +/- 35.4 min) were shorter compared with adult populations. Content analysis revealed eight categories of hardware problems (battery problems, compliance issues, data loss, mechanical problems, electronic problems, sensor problems, lacking waterproofness, other problems) and five categories of software problems (lack of user-friendliness, limited possibilities, bugs, high computational burden, black box character). Conclusions The study confirms heterogeneity regarding accelerometer use in health-related research. Moreover, several hardware and software problems were documented. Both aspects must be tackled to increase validity, practicability and comparability of research.

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Albrecht, B.M., Flasskamp, F.T., Koster, A., Eskofier, B., & Bammann, K. (2022). Cross-sectional survey on researchers' experience in using accelerometers in health-related studies. BMJ Open Sport and Exercise Medicine, 8(2).


Albrecht, Birte Marie, et al. "Cross-sectional survey on researchers' experience in using accelerometers in health-related studies." BMJ Open Sport and Exercise Medicine 8.2 (2022).

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