Using accelerometery to classify physical activity intensity in older adults: what is the optimal wear-site?

Michael Duncan, Alex Rowlands, Chelsey Lawson, Sheila Leddington Wright, Mathew Hill, Martyn Morris, Emma Eyre, Jason Tallis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


This study aimed to determine the optimal accelerometer wear-site specific cut-points for discrimination of sedentary time, light physical activity and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity in older adults. Twenty-three adults (14 females) aged 55 to 77 years wore a GENEActiv accelerometer on their non-dominant wrist, dominant wrist, waist and dominant ankle whilst undertaking eight, five-minute bouts of activity: lay supine, seated reading, slow walking, medium walking, fast walking, folding laundry, sweeping and stationary cycling. VO2 was assessed concurrently using indirect calorimetry. Receiver-operating-characteristic (ROC) analyses were used to derive wear-site specific cut-points for classifying intensity. Indirect calorimetry indicated that being lay supine and seated reading were classified as sedentary (<1.5 METs), laundry as light (1.51-2.99 METs) and sweeping, slow, medium and fast walking and cycling all classified as moderate intensity (>3 METs). Areas under ROC curves (AUC) indicated that classification of sedentary activity was good for the non-dominant wrist and excellent for all other wear sites. Classification of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) was excellent for the waist and ankle, good for the waist and poor for the dominant and non-dominant wrists. Overall, the ankle location performed better than other locations. Ankle-worn accelerometry appears to provide the most suitable wear-site to discriminate between sedentary time and MVPA in older adults.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)(In-press)
JournalEuropean Journal of Sport Science
Early online date14 Nov 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Nov 2019


  • Indirect Calorimetry
  • Energy Expenditure
  • Sedentary Behaviour
  • Cut-Points
  • Accelerometer
  • Aging
  • Waist
  • Wrist
  • Ankle
  • GENEActiv

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