Assessing free-living physical activity using accelerometry: Practical issues for researchers and practitioners

N.D. Ridgers, Stuart J. Fairclough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)
558 Downloads (Pure)


Physical activity is an integral component of a healthy lifestyle, with relationships documented between physical activity, chronic diseases, and disease risk factors. There is increasing concern that many people are not sufficiently active to benefit their health. Consequently, there is a need to determine the prevalence of physical activity engagement, identify active and inactive segments of the population, and evaluate the effectiveness of interventions. The aim of the present study was to identify and explain a number of methodological and decision-making processes associated with accelerometry, which is the most commonly used objective measure of physical activity in child and adult research. Specifically, this review addresses: (a) pre-data collection decisions, (b) data collection procedures, (c) processing of accelerometer data, and (d) outcome variables in relation to the research questions posed. An appraisal of the literature is provided to help researchers and practitioners begin field-based research, with recommendations offered for best practice. In addition, issues that require further investigation are identified and discussed to inform researchers and practitioners of the surrounding debates. Overall, the review is intended as a starting point for field-based physical activity research using accelerometers and as an introduction to key issues that should be considered and are likely to be encountered at this time.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-213
JournalEuropean Journal of Sport Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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