Using accelerometry 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 journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
190 Downloads (Pure)


This study aimed to determine the optimal accelerometer wear-site specific cut-points for discrimination of the sedentary time, light physical activity and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) in older adults. Twenty-three adults (14 females) aged 55–77 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. VO 2 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 indicated that the classification of sedentary activity was good for the non-dominant wrist and excellent for all other wear sites. Classification of 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 in 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)1131-1139
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Sport Science
Issue number8
Early online date14 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 13 Sept 2020

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in European Journal of Sport Science on 14/11/2019, available online:

Copyright © and Moral Rights are retained by the author(s) and/ or other copyright owners. A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge. This item cannot be reproduced or quoted extensively from without first obtaining permission in writing from the copyright holder(s). The content must not be changed in any way or sold commercially in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders.


  • Indirect Calorimetry
  • Energy Expenditure
  • Sedentary Behaviour
  • Cut-Points
  • Accelerometer
  • Aging
  • Waist
  • Wrist
  • Ankle
  • GENEActiv
  • energy expenditure
  • cut-points
  • Indirect calorimetry
  • accelerometer
  • sedentary behaviour
  • aging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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