Playground study tests accuracy of kids’ activity trackers

April 23, 2018

Mom and dad wear them so the kids want one too. But how well do children’s activity trackers keep up with these little bundles of energy?

A new QUT (Queensland University of Technology) study is aiming to test the accuracy of commercially available fitness trackers by comparing their data with information collected by multiple scientific movement sensors during 20 minutes of play.

And while the results will be of interest to all families who use activity trackers, they will particularly be beneficial for children who have physical conditions where monitoring activity plays a vital role in their health.

QUT Ph.D. researcher Matthew Ahmadi from the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation is doing playground tests across Brisbane involving 30 children aged 3 to 5.

The children are videoed so that researchers can compare their actual minutes of play with the data collected by all the tracking equipment.

“We’re testing activity trackers that are commercially available for parents to buy for their children to track that their kids are getting enough physical activity and sleep,” Ahmadi said.

“We want to test the algorithms that these devices use to make sure that the information parents are getting is accurate and informative.

“These devices are also starting to be used by allied health professionals and clinicians in their studies and rehabilitation programs, so it’s very important that the information they’re receiving is accurate.”

The Australian Research Council-funded study will look at step counts, minutes of intensive activity and the algorithms that turn activity tracker data into statistics on how many calories their wearers are burning.

Mr Ahmadi came to Brisbane from the United States to research his Ph.D. with QUT’s Children’s Physical Activity Research Group.

QUT’s Professor of Physical Activity and Health, Stewart Trost, leads the group, which is based at the Centre for Children’s Health Research (co-located with Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital).

Medical Xpress has the full article

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