Research Study Abstract

Comparison of Polar Active Watch and Waist- and Wrist-Worn ActiGraph Accelerometers for Measuring Children’s Physical Activity Levels during Unstructured Afterschool Programs

  • Published on Sep 4, 2018

Background: The purpose of this study was to examine the convergent validity of the Polar Active Watch (PAW), a consumer-grade wrist-worn activity monitor, against waist- and wrist-worn research-grade monitors, the ActiGraph GT3X+/GT9X accelerometers, in children.

Methods: Fifty-one children (18 boys; mean age = 10.30 ± 0.91 years) wore the three monitors (PAW, GT3X+, and GT9X) during an 80-min afterschool program across five school days. Time spent in sedentary, light-intensity (LPA), and moderate- and vigorous-intensity physical activity (MVPA) were estimated from each monitor. The correlation, mixed model, mean absolute percentage error, equivalence testing, and Bland-Altman analyses were used to examine the comparability of PA estimates of the PAW with GT3X+/GT9X accelerometers.

Results: Moderate to strong correlations for sedentary and MVPA minutes, and weak correlation for LPA were observed between the PAW and GT3X+/GT9X accelerometers. Significant mean differences were found, where the PAW tended to overestimate time in sedentary and MVPA and underestimate LPA minutes, compared to the GT3X+/GT9X accelerometers. However, a non-significant mean difference in MVPA minutes was observed when using an adjusted MET threshold (≥4 METs) for the PAW, compared to the GT3X+ accelerometer.

Conclusions: The PAW showed moderate convergent validity for sedentary and MVPA minutes against the GT3X+/GT9X accelerometers. However, caution is needed in the direct comparison between the monitors due to relatively large mean differences and within-group variability.


  • Youngdeok Kim 1
  • Marc Lochbaum 1,2


  • 1

    Department of Kinesiology and Sport Management, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX 79409, USA

  • 2

    The Academy of Education, Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas LT-44248, Lithuania


International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health


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