Limitations identified in current commercial activity monitors in step counting accuracy and usability features for older adults

In August 2018 researchers from the USA published the results of their study to assess the accuracy, acceptability and usability of seven commercial activity monitors in 43 older adults (average age 87 years) with varying walking abilities. The individuals completed a walking speed assessment and two walking trials whilst wearing the activity monitors. They also answered a questionnaire about usability features and activity monitor preferences. The results showed that the Accusplit AX2710 pedometer had the highest level of accuracy whilst the Fitbit Charge had the lowest. Device accuracy varied according to assistive device use. When usability was assessed, an inability to put the monitor on and accessing the step display were the main issues encountered. Monitor accuracy was rated as the most important feature and the ability to interface with a smart device the least important feature. This study identified the limitations of the current commercial activity monitors in both step counting accuracy and usability features for older adults.

Hergenroeder AL et al. Accuracy and Acceptability of Commercial Grade Physical Activity Monitors in Older Adults. J Aging Phys Act. 2018 Aug 17:1-26. [Epub ahead of print]

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