Research Study Abstract

Exploring the challenges in obtaining physical activity data from women using hip-worn accelerometers

  • Published on May, 2017

Abstract: Quality objective physical activity data are required to inform physical activity-based health improvement initiatives, however, various challenges undermine acquisition of such data. We examined the efficacy and challenges of a hip-worn accelerometry protocol in women. Specific objectives included determining accelerometer-wear-compliance rates and understanding the barriers and acceptability of wearing accelerometers. Healthy New Zealand women (n = 406) of three ethnicities (Māori (indigenous New Zealander), Pacific, European) aged 16–45 years (30.9 ± 8.7 y) wore hip-mounted Actigraph wGT3X+ accelerometers for 7 consecutive days under a 24-h wear protocol. Post hoc, a sub-sample (n = 45; age: 29.4 ± 9.0 y) was interviewed to investigate comfort/convenience and burdens of accelerometer-wear. Wear-compliance (≥10 h/day, ≥4 day) was 86%. European women returned more valid data (92.7%, p < .04) than Pacific (73.0%) or Māori women (82.1%). Twenty-two participants (5.4%) had completely missing data; 13 due to lost accelerometers. Burden of accelerometer-wear was greatest during sleeping (66.7%) due to discomfort. Embarrassment of accelerometer visibility through clothing and consequent restricted clothing choices caused high burden in social settings (45.2%). Discomfort during sleeping, embarrassment due to perceived appearance in social settings and ethnicity are key factors affecting the efficacy of collecting physical activity data from women using hip-worn accelerometers. Refining accelerometer design to reduce size and subsequently participant burden should improve acceptability and wear-compliance. Increasing overall participant compliance by reducing burden and ensuring appropriate understanding of study aims and relevance should reduce attrition and improve wear-compliance and data quality when collecting accelerometry data from women of different ethnicities.


  • Wendy J. O'Brien 1
  • Sarah P. Shultz 2
  • Ridvan T. Firestone 3
  • Lily George 4
  • Bernhard H. Breier 1
  • Rozanne Kruger 1


  • 1

    School of Food and Nutrition, Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand

  • 2

    School of Sport and Exercise, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand

  • 3

    Centre for Public Health Research, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand

  • 4

    Office of Assistant Vice Chancellor Maori, Pacific & New Migrants, Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand


European Journal of Sport Science