Cross-validation of cut-points in preschool children using different accelerometer placements and data axes

Teatske M. Altenburg, Lotte de Vries, Rianne op den Buijsch, Emma Eyre, Alexandra Dobell, Michael Duncan, Mai J.M. Chinapaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
49 Downloads (Pure)


The present study cross-validated various cut-points to assess physical activity and sedentary behaviour in preschoolers, using hip- and wrist-worn accelerometers and both vertical axis and vector magnitude data. Secondly, we examined the influence of epoch length on time estimates of physical activity and sedentary behaviour. Sixty-four preschoolers (34 girls) wore two accelerometers, on their right hip and dominant wrist, during 1 hour of free play. Preschoolers’ activities were observed by two trained researchers. Area under the curve (AUC) was calculated for the receiving operating characteristic (ROC) curves as a measure of precision. AUC ranges were 0.603–0.723 for sedentary behaviour, 0.472–0.545 for light physical activity and 0.503–0.661 for moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), indicating poor to fair precision. Percentage of time classified as sedentary behaviour, light or MVPA according to observation and accelerometer data varied largely between cut-points, accelerometer placements and axes. The influence of epoch length on time estimates was minimal across cut-points, except for one hip-based vector magnitude cut-point. Across all accelerometer placements and data axes, no set of cut-points demonstrated adequate precision for sedentary behaviour, light physical activity and MVPA. The highly variable and omnidirectional activity pattern of preschoolers may explain the lack of adequate cut-points.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-385
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Issue number4
Early online date18 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - 16 Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.


  • classification
  • physical activity
  • Preschoolers
  • sedentary behaviour
  • vector magnitude
  • vertical axis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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