A Review of Emerging Analytical Techniques for Objective Physical Activity Measurement in Humans

Cain C T Clark, Claire M Barnes, Gareth Stratton, Melitta A McNarry, Kelly A Mackintosh, Huw D Summers

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)
191 Downloads (Pure)


Physical inactivity is one of the most prevalent risk factors for non-communicable diseases in the world. A fundamental barrier to enhancing physical activity levels and decreasing sedentary behavior is limited by our understanding of associated measurement and analytical techniques. The number of analytical techniques for physical activity measurement has grown significantly, and although emerging techniques may advance analyses, little consensus is presently available and further synthesis is therefore required. The objective of this review was to identify the accuracy of emerging analytical techniques used for physical activity measurement in humans. We conducted a search of electronic databases using Web of Science, PubMed, and Google Scholar. This review included studies written in English and published between January 2010 and December 2014 that assessed physical activity using emerging analytical techniques and reported technique accuracy. A total of 2064 papers were initially retrieved from three databases. After duplicates were removed and remaining articles screened, 50 full-text articles were reviewed, resulting in the inclusion of 11 articles that met the eligibility criteria. Despite the diverse nature and the range in accuracy associated with some of the analytic techniques, the rapid development of analytics has demonstrated that more sensitive information about physical activity may be attained. However, further refinement of these techniques is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)439-447
Number of pages9
JournalSports Medicine
Issue number3
Early online date11 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1007/s40279-016-0585-y

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  • Cell Phone
  • Exercise/physiology
  • Humans
  • Technology
  • Wearable Electronic Devices


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