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No one accelerometer-based physical activity data collection protocol can fit all research questions.
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Medicine and Optometry. Linnaeus University, Linnaeus Knowledge Environments, Sustainable Health.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4934-8684
Karolinska institutet, Sweden;Karolinska University Hospital, Sweden;Sophiahemmet university, Sweden.
2020 (English)In: BMC Medical Research Methodology, E-ISSN 1471-2288, Vol. 20, no 1, p. 1-8, article id 141Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

BACKGROUND: Measuring physical activity and sedentary behavior accurately remains a challenge. When describing the uncertainty of mean values or when making group comparisons, minimising Standard Error of the Mean (SEM) is important. The sample size and the number of repeated observations within each subject influence the size of the SEM. In this study we have investigated how different combinations of sample sizes and repeated observations influence the magnitude of the SEM.

METHODS: A convenience sample were asked to wear an accelerometer for 28 consecutive days. Based on the within and between subject variances the SEM for the different combinations of sample sizes and number of monitored days was calculated.

RESULTS: Fifty subjects (67% women, mean ± SD age 41 ± 19 years) were included. The analyses showed, independent of which intensity level of physical activity or how measurement protocol was designed, that the largest reductions in SEM was seen as the sample size were increased. The same magnitude in reductions to SEM was not seen for increasing the number of repeated measurement days within each subject.

CONCLUSION: The most effective way of reducing the SEM is to have a large sample size rather than a long observation period within each individual. Even though the importance of reducing the SEM to increase the power of detecting differences between groups is well-known it is seldom considered when developing appropriate protocols for accelerometer based research. Therefore the results presented herein serves to highlight this fact and have the potential to stimulate debate and challenge current best practice recommendations of accelerometer based physical activity research.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
BioMed Central (BMC), 2020. Vol. 20, no 1, p. 1-8, article id 141
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Research subject
Natural Science, Medicine
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-95970DOI: 10.1186/s12874-020-01026-7ISI: 000540032400003PubMedID: 32493225Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85086000938OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-95970DiVA, id: diva2:1438679
Available from: 2020-06-11 Created: 2020-06-11 Last updated: 2024-01-17Bibliographically approved

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