Estimating physical activity in children aged 8-11 years using accelerometry: contributions from fundamental movement skills and different accelerometer placements.

Michael Duncan, Clare Roscoe, Mark Faghy, Jason Tallis, Emma Eyre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
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Accelerometers are widely used to assess physical activity, but it is unclear how effective accelerometers are in capturing fundamental movement skills in children. This study examined the energy expenditure during different physical activities (PA) and calibrated triaxial accelerometry, worn at the wrist, waist and ankle, during children's PA with attention to object control movement skills and cycling. Thirty children (14 girls) aged 8 to 11 years wore a GENEActiv accelerometer on their non-dominant wrist, dominant wrist, waist and ankle. Children undertook eight, 5-min bouts of activity comprising being lay supine, playing with Lego, slow walking, medium walking, medium paced running, overarm throwing and catching, instep passing a football and cycling at 35 W. VO2 was assessed concurrently using indirect calorimetry. Indirect calorimetry indicated that being lay supine and playing with Lego were classified as sedentary in nature (>1.5 METs), slow paced walking, medium placed walking and throwing and catching were classified as light (1.51-2.99 METs) and running, cycling and instep passing were classified as moderate intensity (>3 METs). ROC curve analysis indicated that discrimination of sedentary activity was excellent for all placements although the ankle performed better than other locations. This pattern was replicated for moderate physical activity (MPA) where the ankle performed better than other locations. Data were reanalyzed removing cycling from the data set. When this analysis was undertaken discrimination of sedentary activity remained excellent for all locations. For MPA discrimination of activity was considered good for waist and ankle placement and fair for placement on either wrist. The current study is the first to quantify energy expenditure in object control fundamental movement skills via indirect calorimetry in children aged 8-11 years whilst also calibrating GENEActiv accelerometers worn at four body locations. Results suggest throwing and catching is categorized as light intensity and instep kicking a football moderate intensity, resulting in energy expenditure equivalent to slow or medium paced walking or cycling and running, respectively. Ankle worn accelerometry appears to provide the most suitable wear location to quantify MPA including ambulatory activity, object control skills and cycling, in children aged 8-11 years.

Original languageEnglish
Article number242
Number of pages9
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
Publication statusPublished - 18 Mar 2019

Bibliographical note

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.


  • Cut-points
  • Energy expenditure
  • Indirect calorimetry
  • Motor competence
  • Motor development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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