Is Body Composition or Body Mass Index Associated with the Step Count Accuracy of a Wearable Technology Device?
Topics in Exercise Science and Kinesiology Volume 3: Issue 1, Article 5, 2022. A simple way to gauge daily physical activity levels is to use a wearable technology device to count the number of steps taken during the day. However, it is unknown whether these devices return accurate step counts for persons with different body fat percentages or body mass index scores. The purpose was to determine if there is a correlation between either body fat percentages and/or body mass index values and the percent error calculated between a manual step count and values recorded by a wearable technology device. Forty volunteers participated. The Samsung Gear 2, FitBit Surge, Polar A360, Garmin Vivosmart HR+, and the Leaf Health Tracker were evaluated when walking and jogging in free motion and treadmill conditions. All devices were worn simultaneously in randomized configurations. The mean of two manual steps counters was used as the criterion measure. Walking and jogging free motion and treadmill protocols of 5-minute intervals were completed. Correlation was determined by Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient. Significance was set at <0.05. There were no significant correlations for body mass index vs percent error. For body fat, significant positive correlations were observed for the Samsung Gear 2 free motion walk: (r=0.321, p=0.043), Garmin Vivosmart HR+ free motion walk: (r=0.488, p=<0.001), and the Leaf Health Tracker treadmill walk: (r=0.368, p=0.020) and treadmill jog: (r=0.350, p=0.027). Body fat may have a limited association with a device’s step count percent error. Lower body mechanics along with device placement may be more of a factor in step counting accuracy.
Montes, Jeffrey; Tandy, Richard D.; Young, John C.; Lee, Szu-Ping; and Navalta, James W.
"Is Body Composition or Body Mass Index Associated with the Step Count Accuracy of a Wearable Technology Device?,"
Topics in Exercise Science and Kinesiology: Vol. 3:
1, Article 5.
Available at: https://digitalscholarship.unlv.edu/scholarship_kin/vol3/iss1/5
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