Comparison of Wrist- and Hip-Worn Activity Monitors When Meeting Step Guidelines
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Comparison of Wrist- and Hip-Worn Activity Monitors When Meeting Step Guidelines

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      Physical activity (PA) guidelines aimed at accumulating 10,000 steps per day have become increasingly common with the advent of wristband PA monitors. However, accumulated steps measured with wristband PA monitors may not be equal to steps measured with validated, hip-worn pedometers. Consequently, evaluating and developing guidelines for step counts using wristband PA monitors for the general population is needed. We compared step counts accumulated with hip-worn pedometers with those accumulated with wrist-worn activity monitors during 1) treadmill exercise, 2) treadmill walking, and 3) activities of daily living (ADL) to determine their accuracy in meeting step count guidelines (ie, 10,000 steps/d).


      Eighty-six adults (aged 18–65 y; body mass index, 19–45 kg/m2) completed 30 minutes of treadmill exercise while simultaneously using a hip-worn pedometer and wrist-worn PA monitor. Remaining steps needed to reach 10,000 steps (ie, 10,000 steps minus the number of pedometer steps recorded from treadmill exercise = remainder) were completed via treadmill walking or ADL. Steps were recorded for both devices after treadmill exercise, treadmill walking, and ADL for both devices.


      Fewer steps were accumulated via wrist-worn PA monitors than via hip-worn pedometers during treadmill exercise (3,552 [SD, 63] steps vs 3,790 [SD, 55] steps, P < .01) and treadmill walking (5,877 [SD, 83] steps vs 6,243 [SD, 49] steps, P < .01). More steps were accumulated via wrist-worn PA monitors than hip-worn pedometers during ADL (7,695 [SD, 207] steps vs 6,309 [SD, 57] steps, P < .01). Consequently, total steps were significantly higher for wristband PA monitors than hip-worn pedometers (11,247 [SD, 210] steps vs 10,099 [SD, 39] steps; P < .01).


      The widely used 10,000-step recommendation may not be accurate for all users of all activity monitors, given the discrepancy in daily step count among wrist-worn and hip-worn devices. Having a more accurate indication of number of steps taken per day based on the device used could have positive effects on health.

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