Background: Few studies have investigated the measurement properties of consumer-grade physical activity monitors (PAMs) in older adults. Therefore, we investigated the criterion validity of consumer-grade PAMs in older adults and whether the measurement properties differed between older adults with and without rollators and whether worn on the hip or at the wrist.
Methods: Consumer-grade PAMs were eligible for inclusion in this study if they: 1) could be fastened at the hip as well as on the wrist, 2) were simple in function and design and thus easy to use for participants with minimal technical skills, 3) included step-counting as outcome measure and 4) were powered by a button cell battery. Participants performed self-paced walking for six minutes while two physiotherapists counted their steps with a click-counter. The average of the two counts was used as criterion. The participants wore 16 monitors, four located bilaterally on both hips and wrists. Our prior expectation was that all monitors would have at least moderate criterion validity for all participants, good criterion validity for participants walking without a rollator and poor criterion validity for participants walking with a rollator.
Results: Four physical activity monitors were included in this study; Misfit Shine, Nokia GO, Jawbone UP Move and Garmin Vivofit 3. A total of 103 older adults participated.Nokia GO was excluded from this study due to technical issues. Therefore, we present results on the frequency of data loss, ICC (1, 2) and percentage measurement error for Misfit Shine, Garmin Vivofit 3 and Jawbone UP Move located on four different positions.
Conclusions: The hip-worn PAMs did not differ significantly in terms of measurement error or criterion validity. Wrist-worn monitors cannot adequately measure number of steps in a population of older adults using rollators. The hip-worn PAMs were superior to wrist-worn PAMs among older adults with and without rollators.