The Open Sports Medicine Journal




(Discontinued)

ISSN: 1874-3870 ― Volume 9, 2015

Comparison of FitBit® Ultra to ActiGraph™ GT1M for Assessment of Physical Activity in Young Adults During Treadmill Walking


The Open Sports Medicine Journal, 2014, 8: 11-15

R.J. Gusmer, T.A. Bosch, A.N. Watkins, J.D. Ostrem, D.R. Dengel

School of Kinesiology, University of Minnesota, 1900 University Avenue SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.

Electronic publication date 24/4/2014
[DOI: 10.2174/1874387001408010011]

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Introduction:

Accelerometers are used to quantify energy expenditure in field research. The ActiGraph™ GT1M (ActiGraph™) is a commonly used accelerometer for research. The FitBit® Ultra (FitBit®) is a low-cost alternative to the ActiGraph™; however, there is limited research on the validity of this device.

Purpose:

The pilot study compares the FitBit® against the ActiGraph™ and metabolic cart for measurement of energy expenditure and step counts during treadmill walking.

Methods:

Thirty-two (25 female) adults, mean age 22±2 years, performed two thirty-minute phases of walking (slow and brisk) on a treadmill while concurrently wearing the FitBit® and the ActiGraph™. Energy expenditure estimates were compared against energy expenditure measured by a metabolic cart. The Pearson’s correlation and t-tests determine the linear association and similarity between the accelerometers.

Results:

Energy expenditure estimate is moderately correlated between the two accelerometers during slow walking (r=0.584, p=0.011) and strongly correlated during brisk walking (r=0.910, p<0.001). Step count is strongly correlated between the accelerometers during slow (r=0.974, p<0.001) and brisk (r=0.996, p<0.001) walking. The FitBit® significantly underestimated energy expenditure during brisk walking compared to metabolic cart data. There is no difference between the slow and brisk phases’ step counts using either accelerometer.

Conclusion:

The results of this pilot study suggest that the FitBit® and the ActiGraph™ can be used interchangeably to measure steps, but not to measure kilocalories. Furthermore, the FitBit® underestimates energy expenditure, compared to a metabolic cart, as exercise intensity increases. This limits its ability to accurately measure energy expenditure in active populations.


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