Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
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©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2022) 21, 356 - 375   DOI: https://doi.org/10.52082/jssm.2022.356

Research article
Are Wrist-Worn Activity Trackers and Mobile Applications Valid for Assessing Physical Activity in High School Students? Wearfit Study
Jesús Viciana1, Carolina Casado-Robles1, Santiago Guijarro-Romero2, , Daniel Mayorga-Vega3
Author Information
1 Department of Physical Education and Sport, University of Granada, Granada, Spain
2 Department of Didactic of Musical, Plastic and Corporal Expression, University of Valladolid, Valladolid, Spain
3 Departamento de Didáctica de las Lenguas, las Artes y el Deporte, Facultad de Ciencias de la Educación, Universidad de Málaga, Málaga, España

Santiago Guijarro-Romero
✉ Department of Didactic of Musical, Plastic and Corporal Expression, Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Valladolid, Paseo de Belén, 1, 47011, Valladolid, Spain
Email: santigr93@gmail.com
Publish Date
Received: 29-03-2022
Accepted: 26-05-2022
Published (online): 01-09-2022
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ABSTRACT

The purpose was to examine the validity of three wrist-worn commercial activity trackers (Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2, Apple Watch Series 5, and Xiaomi Mi Band 5) and six mobile apps (Pedometer and Pacer for android and iPhone mobiles, Google Fit for android, and Apple Health for iPhone mobiles) for estimating high school students’ steps and physical activity (PA) under free-living conditions. A sample of 56 (27 females; mean age = 14.7 years) and 51 (25 females; mean age = 14.0 years) high school students participated in Study 1 and 2, respectively. Study 1: Students performed a 200-meter course in four different conditions while wearing the wearables. Step counting through a video record was used as the golden standard. Study 2: Students wore the three wrist-worn commercial activity trackers during the waking time of one day, considering ActiGraph model wGT3X-BT accelerometers as a standard of reference. Afterward, the agreement between the PA scores measured by the commercial activity trackers and the video (study 1) or accelerometers (study 2) were calculated as follows: Equivalence test, Limits of Agreement (LOA); Mean Absolute Error (MAE); Mean Absolute Percentage Error (MAPE); and Intraclass Correlation Coefficient (ICC). Results showed that all the wearables presented excellent validity for assessing steps in structured free-living conditions (study 1; MAPE < 5%), although their validity was between poor-excellent based on ICC (95% confidence interval) values (ICC = 0.56-1.00). Regarding Study 2, the Xiaomi wristband and the Samsung Watch presented acceptable-excellent (MAPE = 9.4-11.4%; ICC = 0.91-0.97) validity for assessing steps under unstructured free-living conditions (study 2). However, the Apple Watch presented questionable-excellent validity (MAPE = 18.0%; ICC = 0.69-0.95). Regarding moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA) and total PA, only the Apple Watch showed low-acceptable validity for MAPE value and questionable-excellent validity for the ICC values for MVPA assessment (MAPE = 22.6; ICC = 0.67-0.93). All wearables checked in this study have shown adequate validity results in order to assess steps in both structured and unstructured free-living conditions for both continuous and dichotomous variables. Moreover, for assessing MVPA, only the Apple Watch reported valid results for compliance or non-compliance with the daily PA recommendations. However, the results showed low validity for total PA and MVPA as continuous variables. In conclusion, depending on the user’s/researcher’s aim and context, one or another wearable activity tracker could be more adequate, mainly because of its valid measurements and its costs.

Key words: Consumer-wearables, daily steps, physical activity recommendations, accuracy, validity, schoolchildren


           Key Points
  • The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2, the Apple Watch Series 5, the Xiaomi Mi Band 5, and the mobile apps (i.e., Pedometer and Pacer for android and iPhone mobiles, Google Fit for android, and Apple Health for iPhone mobiles) were valid to measure high school students’ steps under structured and unstructured free-living conditions as a continuous variable.
  • The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2, the Apple Watch Series 5, and the Xiaomi Mi Band 5 wrist-worn activity trackers were valid to measure the compliance or non-compliance of high school students’ daily step-based physical activity recommendation (i.e., 10,000 steps/day) in unstructured free-living conditions.
  • The Apple Watch Series 5 wrist-worn activity tracker was valid to measure the compliance or non-compliance of high school students’ moderate-to-vigorous physical activity-based recommendation (i.e., 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity/day) in unstructured free-living conditions.
  • Considering the user’s/researcher’s objective and context, one or another wearable activity tracker could be more adequate, mainly because of its valid measurements and its costs.
 
 
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